Infant word segmentation recruits the cerebral network of phonological short-term memory

Yasuyo Minagawa, Yoko Hakuno, Ai Kobayashi, Nozomi Naoi, Shozo Kojima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Segmenting word units from running speech is a fundamental skill infants must develop in order to acquire language. Despite ample behavioral evidence of this skill, its neurocognitive basis remains unclear. Using behavioral testing and functional near-infrared spectroscopy, we aimed to uncover the neurocognitive substrates of word segmentation and its development. Of three age-groups of Japanese infants (5–6, 7–8, and 9–10 months of age), the two older age-groups showed significantly larger temporo-parietal (particularly supramarginal gyrus) responses to target words repeatedly presented for training, than to control words. After the training, they also exhibited stronger inferior frontal responses to target words embedded in sentences. These findings suggest that word segmentation largely involves a cerebral circuit of phonological (phonetic) short-term memory. The dorsal pathway involved in encoding and decoding phonological representation may start to function stably at around 7 months of age to facilitate the growth of the infant's vocabulary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Language
Volume170
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1

Fingerprint

Short-Term Memory
infant
age group
Age Groups
Parietal Lobe
Phonetics
Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
Vocabulary
phonetics
vocabulary
Language
Growth
language
evidence
segmentation
Word Segmentation
Phonological Short-term Memory

Keywords

  • Dorsal pathway
  • Inferior frontal gyrus
  • NIRS
  • Phonological short-term memory
  • Supra marginal gyrus
  • Word segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing

Cite this

Infant word segmentation recruits the cerebral network of phonological short-term memory. / Minagawa, Yasuyo; Hakuno, Yoko; Kobayashi, Ai; Naoi, Nozomi; Kojima, Shozo.

In: Brain and Language, Vol. 170, 01.07.2017, p. 39-49.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Minagawa, Yasuyo ; Hakuno, Yoko ; Kobayashi, Ai ; Naoi, Nozomi ; Kojima, Shozo. / Infant word segmentation recruits the cerebral network of phonological short-term memory. In: Brain and Language. 2017 ; Vol. 170. pp. 39-49.
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