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Development of the lexical-semantic organization in the infant brain: electrophysiological evidence

June 14 @ 12:00 - 13:00

Dr. Pia Rämä

Until recently, there has been little evidence regarding how and when infants begin to integrate words into an inter-connected lexical-semantic system. Recent event-related potential (ERP) studies show that lexical-semantic system emerges together with early vocabulary during the second year of life (Rämä et al., 2013; Rämä et al., 2018). These studies also suggest that the N400 component is an useful tool to investigate lexical-semantic development in infancy. Some further evidence shows that lexical-semantic organization develops later in bilingual than in monolingual infants. There is mixed evidence as to whether lexical-semantic activation occurs similarly in dominant and non-dominant languages in bilingual language learners (e.g., Sirri & Rämä, 2019). In my talk, I will present our findings regarding neurophysiological mechanisms underlying lexical-semantic activation in monolingual and bilingual infants, and I will also describe my recent findings on the effect of speaker familiarity on processing of word meanings.


Rämä, P., Sirri, L., & Serres, J. (2013). Development of lexical–semantic language system: N400 priming effect for spoken words in 18-and 24-month old children. Brain and language125(1), 1-10.

Rämä, P., Sirri, L., & Goyet, L. (2018). Event-related potentials associated with cognitive mechanisms underlying lexical-semantic processing in monolingual and bilingual 18-month-old children. Journal of Neurolinguistics47, 123-130.

Sirri, L., & Rämä, P. (2019). Similar and distinct neural mechanisms underlying semantic priming in the languages of the French–Spanish bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition22(1), 93-102.



June 14
12:00 - 13:00
Event Category: