Advertisement

Memory & Cognition

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 130–144 | Cite as

Learning new meanings for known words: Perturbation of original meanings and retention of new meanings

  • Xiaoping FangEmail author
  • Charles A. PerfettiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Learning a new, unrelated meaning for a known word faces competition from the word’s original meaning. Moreover, the connection of the word with its original meaning also shows a subtle form of interference, a perturbation, when tested immediately after learning. However, the long-term effects of both types of interference are unclear. The present study paired both high and low frequency words with new unrelated meanings, testing the fate of new and original meanings on three different days over one week as a function of word familiarity. The results were that learners maintained memory for new meanings of high frequency words better than the new meanings of low frequency words over one week. Following learning, meaning decisions on high frequency words that required the original meaning of the trained word were delayed relative to decisions on control words – but only when testing was immediate and the stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) between the trained word and its original meaning probe was 200 ms. When the SOA was 500 ms or when the test was delayed by one day or one week, no effect occurred. The findings indicate that in the learning of new meanings for known words, word familiarity benefits long-term retention of new meanings. The facilitation effect occurs along with a perturbation effect, in which the original meaning of a familiar word is made momentarily less accessible immediately after learning.

Keywords

Word learning Word frequency Retention Memory Perturbation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant SBE08-36012 through the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center and by NIH award 1R01HD058566-01A1 to the University of Pittsburgh (PI: C. Perfetti). The authors would like to thank Sarah DiMuccio for help with stimuli development, Hannah Chris Legerwood, Austin Marcus, Kimberly Muth, and Paula Pascual for help with data collection, and the anonymous reviewers for their very constructive comments on the earlier versions of the manuscript. Part of results of Experiment 1 was presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Studies of Reading, Big Island, HI, USA, 2015.

Supplementary material

13421_2018_855_MOESM1_ESM.docx (146 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 146 kb)

References

  1. Armstrong, B.C., & Plaut, D.C. (2008). Settling dynamics in distributed networks explain task differences in semantic ambiguity effects: Computational and behavioral evidence. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society.Google Scholar
  2. Baayen, R.H., Davidson, D.J., & Bates, D.M. (2008). Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59(4), 390-412.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2007.12.005 Google Scholar
  3. Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J.G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J.M. (2014). Competition from unseen or unheard novel words: Lexical consolidation across modalities. Journal of Memory and Language, 73(0), 116-130.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2014.03.002 Google Scholar
  4. Balota, D.A., Yap, M.J., Cortese, M.J., Hutchison, K.A., Kessler, B., Loftis, B., … Treiman, R. (2007). The english lexicon project. Behav Res Methods, 39(3), 445-459.Google Scholar
  5. Bjork, R.A. (1994). Memory and metamemory considerations in the training of human beings.Google Scholar
  6. Bjork, R.A., & Kroll, J.F. (2015). Desirable difficulties in vocabulary learning. The American Journal of Psychology, 128(2), 241-252.Google Scholar
  7. Bowers, J.S., Davis, C.J., & Hanley, D.A. (2005). Interfering neighbours: The impact of novel word learning on the identification of visually similar words. Cognition, 97(3), B45-54.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2005.02.002 Google Scholar
  8. Brysbaert, M., & New, B. (2009). Moving beyond kucera and francis: A critical evaluation of current word frequency norms and the introduction of a new and improved word frequency measure for american english. Behavior Research Methods, 41(4), 977-990.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BRM.41.4.977 Google Scholar
  9. Brysbaert, M., Warriner, A.B., & Kuperman, V. (2013). Concreteness ratings for 40 thousand generally known english word lemmas. Behavior Research Methods, 1-8.Google Scholar
  10. Casenhiser, D.M. (2005). Children's resistance to homonymy: An experimental study of pseudohomonyms. Journal of Child Language, 32(2), 319-343.Google Scholar
  11. Coutanche, M.N., & Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2014). Fast mapping rapidly integrates information into existing memory networks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(6), 2296-2303.  https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000020 Google Scholar
  12. Davis, M.H., & Gaskell, M.G. (2009). A complementary systems account of word learning: Neural and behavioural evidence. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 364(1536), 3773-3800.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2009.0111 Google Scholar
  13. Doherty, M.J. (2004). Children's difficulty in learning homonyms. Journal of Child Language, 31(1), 203-214.Google Scholar
  14. Dudai, Y., Karni, A., & Born, J. (2015). The consolidation and transformation of memory. Neuron, 88(1), 20-32.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.004 Google Scholar
  15. Fang, X., & Perfetti, C.A. (2017). Perturbation of old knowledge precedes integration of new knowledge. Neuropsychologia, 99, 270-278.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.03.015 Google Scholar
  16. Fang, X., Perfetti, C.A., & Stafura, J. (2017). Learning new meanings for known words: Biphasic effects of prior knowledge. Language Cognition and Neuroscience, 32(5), 13.Google Scholar
  17. Fernandez, R.S., Bavassi, L., Forcato, C., & Pedreira, M.E. (2016). The dynamic nature of the reconsolidation process and its boundary conditions: Evidence based on human tests. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 130, 202-212.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nlm.2016.03.001 Google Scholar
  18. Forcato, C., Fernandez, R.S., & Pedreira, M.E. (2014). Strengthening a consolidated memory: The key role of the reconsolidation process. Journal of Physiology, Paris, 108(4-6), 323-333.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphysparis.2014.09.001 Google Scholar
  19. Gaskell, M.G., & Dumay, N. (2003). Lexical competition and the acquisition of novel words. Cognition, 89(2), 105-132.  https://doi.org/10.1016/s0010-0277(03)00070-2 Google Scholar
  20. Geukes, S., Gaskell, M.G., & Zwitserlood, P. (2015). Stroop effects from newly learned color words: Effects of memory consolidation and episodic context. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 278.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00278 Google Scholar
  21. Hino, Y., Lupker, S.J., & Pexman, P.M. (2002). Ambiguity and synonymy effects in lexical decision, naming, and semantic categorization tasks: Interactions between orthography, phonology, and semantics. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28(4), 686-713.Google Scholar
  22. Kapnoula, E.C., & McMurray, B. (2016). Training alters the resolution of lexical interference: Evidence for plasticity of competition and inhibition. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 145(1), 8-30.  https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000123 Google Scholar
  23. Kintsch, W., & Mross, E.F. (1985). Context effects in word identification. Journal of Memory and Language, 24(3), 336-349.Google Scholar
  24. Kuperman, V., Stadthagen-Gonzalez, H., & Brysbaert, M. (2012). Age-of-acquisition ratings for 30,000 english words. Behavior Research Methods, 44(4), 978-990.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-012-0210-4 Google Scholar
  25. Landauer, T.K., & Dumais, S.T. (1997). A solution to plato's problem: The latent semantic analysis theory of acquisition, induction, and representation of knowledge. Psychological Review, 104(2), 211-240.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295x.104.2.211 Google Scholar
  26. Maciejewski, G., Rodd, J.M., Mon-Williams, M., & Klepousniotou, E. (2018). The cost of learning new meanings for familiar words.  https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/7YDKW
  27. Mazzocco, M.M. (1997). Children's interpretations of homonyms: A developmental study. Journal of Child Language, 24(2), 441-467.Google Scholar
  28. Mcclelland, J.L., Mcnaughton, B.L., & Oreilly, R.C. (1995). Why there are complementary learning-systems in the hippocampus and neocortex - insights from the successes and failures of connectionist models of learning and memory. Psychological Review, 102(3), 419-457.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295x.102.3.419 Google Scholar
  29. Parks, R., Ray, J., & Bland, S. (1998). Wordsmyth english dictionary--thesaurus. University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  30. Perfetti, C. A., & Hart, L. (2002). The lexical quality hypothesis. In Precursors of functional literacy, 11, pp. 67–86.Google Scholar
  31. Piercey, C.D., & Joordens, S. (2000). Turning an advantage into a disadvantage: Ambiguity effects in lexical decision versus reading tasks. Memory & Cognition, 28(4), 657-666.  https://doi.org/10.3758/Bf03201255 Google Scholar
  32. Qiao, X., & Forster, K.I. (2013). Novel word lexicalization and the prime lexicality effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39(4), 1064-1074.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030528 Google Scholar
  33. Rodd, J.M., Berriman, R., Landau, M., Lee, T., Ho, C., Gaskell, M.G., & Davis, M.H. (2012). Learning new meanings for old words: Effects of semantic relatedness. Memory & Cognition, 40(7), 1095-1108.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-012-0209-1 Google Scholar
  34. Rodd, J.M., Cai, Z.G.G., Betts, H.N., Hanby, B., Hutchinson, C., & Adler, A. (2016). The impact of recent and long-term experience on access to word meanings: Evidence from large-scale internet-based experiments. Journal of Memory and Language, 87, 16-37.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2015.10.006 Google Scholar
  35. Rodd, J.M., Lopez Cutrin, B., Kirsch, H., Millar, A., & Davis, M.H. (2013). Long-term priming of the meanings of ambiguous words. Journal of Memory and Language, 68(2), 180-198.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2012.08.002 Google Scholar
  36. Roediger, H.L., 3rd, & Butler, A.C. (2011). The critical role of retrieval practice in long-term retention. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15(1), 20-27.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2010.09.003 Google Scholar
  37. Storkel, H.L., & Maekawa, J. (2005). A comparison of homonym and novel word learning: The role of phonotactic probability and word frequency. Journal of Child Language, 32(4), 827-853.Google Scholar
  38. Storkel, H.L., Maekawa, J., & Aschenbrenner, A.J. (2013). The effect of homonymy on learning correctly articulated versus misarticulated words. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(2), 694-707.  https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0122) Google Scholar
  39. Tamminen, J., & Gaskell, M.G. (2008). Newly learned spoken words show long-term lexical competition effects. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61(3), 361-371.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470210701634545 Google Scholar
  40. Tamminen, J., & Gaskell, M.G. (2013). Novel word integration in the mental lexicon: Evidence from unmasked and masked semantic priming. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(5), 1001-1025.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2012.724694 Google Scholar
  41. Tham, E.K., Lindsay, S., & Gaskell, M.G. (2015). Markers of automaticity in sleep-associated consolidation of novel words. Neuropsychologia  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.03.025
  42. van Kesteren, M.T.R., Krabbendam, L., & Meeter, M. (2017). Integrating educational knowledge: Reactivation of prior knowledge during educational learning enhances memory integrationGoogle Scholar
  43. Van Petten, C., & Kutas, M. (1987). Ambiguous words in context: An event-related potential analysis of the time course of meaning activation. Journal of Memory and Language, 26(2), 188-208.Google Scholar
  44. Wang, H.C., Savage, G., Gaskell, M.G., Paulin, T., Robidoux, S., & Castles, A. (2016). Bedding down new words: Sleep promotes the emergence of lexical competition in visual word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-016-1182-7

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Research and Development CenterUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Center for Neural Basis of CognitionPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations