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LINGUIST List 18.2151

Mon Jul 16 2007

Diss: Cog Sci/Lang Acquisition/Neuroling: Morgan-Short: 'A Neurolin...'

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        1.    Kara Morgan-Short, A Neurolinguistic Investigation of Late-Learned Second Language Knowledge: The effects of explicit and implicit conditions


Message 1: A Neurolinguistic Investigation of Late-Learned Second Language Knowledge: The effects of explicit and implicit conditions
Date: 16-Jul-2007
From: Kara Morgan-Short <morgankdgeorgetown.edu>
Subject: A Neurolinguistic Investigation of Late-Learned Second Language Knowledge: The effects of explicit and implicit conditions
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Institution: Georgetown University
Program: Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Kara Morgan-Short

Dissertation Title: A Neurolinguistic Investigation of Late-Learned Second Language Knowledge: The effects of explicit and implicit conditions

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Language Acquisition
                            Neurolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Cristina Sanz
Karsten Steinhauer
Michael Ullman

Dissertation Abstract:

This study examines several related issues concerning second language
acquisition and processing: what computational and neural systems underlie
second language acquisition and processing at both low and high proficiency
levels; whether later learners can achieve native-like proficiency; and how
conditions to which second language (L2) learners are exposed (e.g.,
explicit and implicit conditions) affect these issues. Informed by the
fields of cognitive neuroscience and second language acquisition (SLA),
this study investigated the neurocognitive underpinnings of adult
acquisition and use of L2 by using an artificial language paradigm,
following Friederici, Steinhauer and Pfeifer (2002). Adult subjects learned
an artificial language to advanced levels of proficiency under two training
conditions: explicit and implicit. Syntactic and morphosyntactic processing
were assessed within-subjects and across training conditions with both
behavioral and neurocognitive measures, specifically event-related
potentials (ERPs), at low and high proficiency levels. Behavioral results
indicated that participants from both groups performed similarly at low and
higher levels proficiency, although the explicit training condition led to
some advantage for one morphosyntactic form. These results are largely
consistent with the findings of Sanz and Morgan-Short (2004). ERP results
showed that the implicit condition led to an N400 component for syntactic
and morphosyntactic structures at low proficiency and to a LAN-P600
biphasic response for these structures at higher levels of proficiency
whereas the explicit condition did not lead to the predicted components.
Interestingly, the biphasic response evidenced by the implicit group is
consistent with the typical response evidenced in L1 to these structures.
The neurocognitive processing underlying performance of the implicit group
is consistent with the results from Friederici, Steinhauer and Pfeifer
(2002) as well as with the predictions of the declarative/procedural model
(2001a; 2001b; 2004; 2005). Overall, the explicit and implicit conditions
did not differentially affect L2 knowledge as reflected by behavioral
assessments but they did appear to affect the cognitive processing that
underlies use of the L2 knowledge. Future research that fully considers and
incorporates theory and research methodology from SLA and cognitive
neuroscience is likely to provide insights into L2A and have significant
implications for our understanding of L2A.





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