Verbal short-term memory and vocabulary learning

Mikan, Kathrin Angela Maria (2013) Verbal short-term memory and vocabulary learning. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

PDF - Published Version
Download (7MB) | Preview


This thesis addressed two key issues. The first was the extent to which verbal short-term memory (STM) for item and order information can be differentiated in terms of their underlying neural mechanisms. The second was to analyze the relative contributions of item and order STM to vocabulary learning in bilingual (BL) and monolingual (ML) children and ML adults.

The first issue was addressed with four studies. Three used electroencephalography (EEG) with ML adults, BL adults and ML children. The aim was to determine whether there is any evidence that the two types of verbal STM have different neural signatures. The fourth study used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in ML adults to test the hypothesis that the right intraparietal sulcus (IPS) is involved in order STM but not item STM.

The second issue was addressed by two behavioural studies. The first was a large-scale longitudinal study testing item and order STM in relation to natural vocabulary acquisition in 7 to 10 year old BL and ML children. The children were tested once in the beginning and once in the end of the school year. In addition, ML children learning a second language were examined in the end of the school year. The second behavioural study explored therelationship of item and order STM with new-word-learning in ML adults using artificially-created nonwords. Some evidence was found to support the view that the distinction of item and order STM is a useful one.

Results of the EEG data suggested differences in patterns of neuro-electrical activity for ML and BL adults and ML children when they are performing item STM and order STM tasks. The results suggest that order STM is important for new word learning in one´s native language learning, where there has already been some exposure to this language, but not in complete novice language learners.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0101 Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2013 14:48
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 13:15

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update