Preschooler’s ERPs of online/offline visualizations and embodiment theory

Amedeo D'AngiulliDepartment of Neuroscience, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada
Gordon GriffithsDepartment of Neuroscience and Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada
Robert West
Patricia Van Roon

Abstract

We explored the relationships between a perceptual-attention task and a word-verification task using event-related potential (ERPs) in preschool children. Adopting an embodied multiple representation perspective, we set up the relationships between online (visual attention) and offline (mental imagery) simulation in the two tasks to test key aspects of abstract word acquisition. Online visualization of all word types, during visual selective attention, elicited early frontal and occipital activation (~ 100 ms). The extent of such activation was correlated with a higher occipital late component (800 ms) during offline visualization concurrent with processing of more abstract/difficult words. Consistent with developmental vision-language interaction embodiment models, our results support the tenet that the transmission of word meanings by typically developing children may be intimately linked to the visual perceptual contexts in which words are learned.

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