University of Oulu

Miika Leminen, Alina Leminen, Sini Smolander, Eva Arkkila, Yury Shtyrov, Marja Laasonen, Teija Kujala, Quick reorganization of memory traces for morphologically complex words in young children, Neuropsychologia, Volume 138, 2020, 107309, ISSN 0028-3932,

Quick reorganization of memory traces for morphologically complex words in young children

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Author: Leminen, Miika1,2; Leminen, Alina2,3; Smolander, Sini1,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Phoniatrics, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, PO Box 250, FIN-00029, HUS, Finland
2Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, PO Box 21, FIN-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland
3Cognitive Science, Department of Digital Humanitiers, Faculty of Arts, PO Box 9, FIN-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland
4Research Unit of Logopedics, PO Box 8000, FIN-90014, University of Oulu, Finland
5Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN), Institute for Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark
6Laboratory of Behavioural Neurodynamics, St.Petersburg State University, Makarova emb, 6, St.Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
7Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, Faculty of Social Sciences, FIN-20014, University of Turku, Finland
8Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Clinical Medicine, PO Box 63, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-06-16


Formation of neural mechanisms for morphosyntactic processing in young children is still poorly understood. Here, we addressed neural processing and rapid online acquisition of familiar and unfamiliar combinations of morphemes. Three different types of morphologically complex words — derived, inflected, and novel (pseudostem + real suffix) — were presented in a passive listening setting to 16 typically developing 3–4-year old children (as part of a longitudinal Helsinki SLI follow-up study). The mismatch negativity (MMN) component of event-related potentials (ERP), an established index of long-term linguistic memory traces in the brain, was analysed separately for the initial and final periods of the exposure to these items. We found MMN response enhancement for the inflected words towards the end of the recording session, whereas no response change was observed for the derived or novel complex forms. This enhancement indicates rapid build-up of a new memory trace for the combination of real morphemes, suggesting a capacity for online formation of whole-form lexicalized representations as one of the morphological mechanisms in the developing brain. Furthermore, this enhancement increased with age, suggesting the development of automatic morphological processing circuits in the age range of 3–4 years.

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Series: Neuropsychologia
ISSN: 0028-3932
ISSN-E: 1873-3514
ISSN-L: 0028-3932
Volume: 138
Article number: 107309
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107309
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: The work was supported by Academy of Finland (grant numbers 288435, 276414, and 316970), Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, Öflunds Stiftelse Foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation (Denmark; project 15480 Neolex; R140-2013-12951), the University of Helsinki (own research funds), RF Government (grant contract № 14.W03.31.0010 and 19-18-00534), and Aarhus University (Denmark; visiting PhD student grant by Medical Graduate School).
Copyright information: © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license