Lab members have studied differences between explicit encoding vs. fast mapping of novel spoken words using electrophysiological and behavioural evidence. The research outcomes have been published in the journal Neuropsychologia.

Results showed that both learning regimes led to successful acquisition, which was somewhat more efficient for explicit encoding than fast mapping, as indicated by higher accuracy in the behavioural task. We also found that, whereas words learnt via both explicit encoding and fast mapping protocols elicited most pronounced ERP peaks at ∼196 and ∼280 ms, these two phases of activity diverged with respect to the learning type. Multiple linear regression and correlation analyses indicated that the learning-induced amplitude dynamics in the earlier peak was significantly related to behavioural performance for fast mapping-learned items. Performance on explicit encoding words was, in turn, significantly linked to the amplitude of the second peak only, potentially due to the involvement of later, top-down controlled processes in this type of word acquisition. Grand-average ERP-based source analysis indicated a left-lateralised activity in the anterior-temporal lobe for fast mapping learning, and a bilateral activation for explicit encoding.

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