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See detailDevelopment of the Abilities to Acquire New Orthographic Representations from Grades 2 to 6
Binamé, Florence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Conference (2014, May 27)

Unlike English, little attention has been accorded to orthographic learning in French which has a challenging spelling due to its high level of inconsistency. There is evidence that the mastery of ... [more ▼]

Unlike English, little attention has been accorded to orthographic learning in French which has a challenging spelling due to its high level of inconsistency. There is evidence that the mastery of alphabetic decoding is critical to acquire word-specific orthographic representations (Share 1995). It is also generally admitted that orthographic processing skills are involved in orthographic learning beyond the core phonological component. Even if these skills still remain underspecified, research particularly focuses on the sensitivity to orthographic constraints. While Pacton et al. (2013) have shown that graphotactic knowledge influences the learning of new spellings, little is known about the development of this knowledge over time. Our aim was to determine the developmental trajectory of orthographic word form acquisition abilities within the French orthography by assessing the speed of acquisition of new orthographic forms as well as the sensitivity to orthographic regularities. Five groups of forty French-speaking children from grades 2 to 6 took part in the study. We proposed two experimental tasks. The first consisted of an orthographic learning of 10 new orthographic forms (inconsistent in spelling) by using a repeated spelling paradigm. In practice, children were firstly asked to read aloud each item once. Then, the experimenter dictated each item ten times in a mixed order. The capacity of retention of the new representations was assessed one week later with a dictation task. The second task aimed at determining the sensitivity to different French orthographic regularities by means of an orthographic choice task containing 62 pairs of non-words homophones. Moreover, general reading and spelling abilities were also assessed. Results show that the speed of orthographic learning and the capacity of long-term retention significantly increase during the first years but do not differ anymore between grades 4-5 and 5-6, suggesting that older children have reached a nearly maximal potential in their learning capacities. Nevertheless, the general orthographic abilities, which are more dependent on scholar knowledge, continue to develop significantly during school years. Furthermore, sensitivity to orthographic regularities increases significantly only from grade 2 to 3, indicating that children as soon as 9 years-old are already able to extract different graphotactic patterns of their writing system. Pacton, S., Sobaco, A., Fayol, M., & Treiman, R. (2013). How does graphotactic knowledge influence children’s learning of new spellings? Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 1-10. Share, D. (1995). Phonological recoding and self-teaching: sine qua non of reading acquisition. Cognition 55, 151-218. [less ▲]

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See detailA predictive battery of literacy acquisition for children in third year kindergarten
Gillet, Sophie ULg; Binamé, Florence ULg; Martinetti, Julie et al

Poster (2014)

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See detailOrthographic learning in adult skilled readers
Binamé, Florence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2013, September 21)

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See detailDissociable components of phonological and lexical-semantic short-term memory and their relation to impaired word production in aphasia
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; PIERTOT, Florence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Cognitive Neuropsychology (2013), 30(7-8), 544-563

This study assesses the dissociability of phonological and lexical-semantic short-term memory (STM) in two aphasic patients, B.N. and T.M., and explores the relationship between their STM deficits and ... [more ▼]

This study assesses the dissociability of phonological and lexical-semantic short-term memory (STM) in two aphasic patients, B.N. and T.M., and explores the relationship between their STM deficits and their word production impairment. Picture naming performance suggests phonological language production impairment in B.N. and lexical-semantic language production impairment in T.M. On STM tasks, B.N. presented phonological STM impairment with preserved lexical-semantic STM, while T.M. presented the reverse profile. These results reveal a double dissociation between phonological and lexical-semantic STM capacities and suggest that our patients' STM impairment may be selectively related to their language production deficits [less ▲]

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See detailCognitive advantage in children enrolled in a second-language immersion elementary school program for 3 years
Nicolay, Anne-Catherine ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Bilingualism : Language and Cognition (2013), 16(3), 597-607

Early bilingualism acquired from home or community is generally considered to positively influence cognitive development. The purpose of the present study was to determine to what extent bilingualism ... [more ▼]

Early bilingualism acquired from home or community is generally considered to positively influence cognitive development. The purpose of the present study was to determine to what extent bilingualism acquired through a second-language immersion education has a similar effect. Participants included a total of 106 French-speaking 8-year-old children drawn from two language groups: 53 children enrolled in English immersion classes since the age of 5 (the immersion group) and 53 children enrolled in monolingual French-speaking classes (the monolingual group). The two groups were matched for verbal and nonverbal intelligence and SES. They were administered a battery of tasks assessing attentional and executive skills. The immersion group’s reaction times were significantly faster than those of the monolingual group on tasks assessing alerting, auditory selective attention, divided attention and mental flexibility, but not interference inhibition. These results show that, after only 3 years, a second-language immersion school experience also produces some of the cognitive benefits associated with early bilingualism. [less ▲]

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See detailCognitive abilities underlying L2 vocabulary acquisition in an early L2-immersion education context: A longitudinal study
Nicolay, Anne-Catherine ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (2013), 115

First- (L1) and second-language (L2) lexical development has been found to be strongly associated to phonological processing abilities such as phonological short-term memory (STM), phonological awareness ... [more ▼]

First- (L1) and second-language (L2) lexical development has been found to be strongly associated to phonological processing abilities such as phonological short-term memory (STM), phonological awareness and speech perception. Lexical development seems also to be linked to attentional and executive skills such as auditory attention, flexibility and response inhibition. The aim of this four-wave longitudinal study was to determine to what extent L2 vocabulary acquired through the particular school context of early L2 immersion education is linked to the same cognitive abilities. Sixty-one French-speaking 5-year-old kindergartners who had just been enrolled in English immersion classes were administered a battery of tasks assessing these 3 phonological processing abilities and 3 attentional/executive skills. One, two and three school years later, their English vocabulary knowledge was measured. Multiple regression analyses showed that, among the assessed phonological processing abilities, phonological STM and speech perception, but not phonological awareness, appeared to underlie L2 vocabulary acquisition in this context of an early L2 immersion school program, at least during the first steps of acquisition. Similarly, among the assessed attentional/executive skills, auditory attention and flexibility, but not response inhibition, appeared to be involved during the first steps of L2 vocabulary acquisition in such an immersion school context. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired short-term memory for order in adults with dyslexia
Martinez Perez, Trecy ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Research in Developmental Disabilities (2013), 34

Verbal short-term memory (STM) deficits are consistently associated with dyslexia, but the nature of these deficits remains poorly understood. This study used the distinction between item and order ... [more ▼]

Verbal short-term memory (STM) deficits are consistently associated with dyslexia, but the nature of these deficits remains poorly understood. This study used the distinction between item and order retention processes to achieve a better understanding of STM deficits in adults with dyslexia. STM for item information has been shown to depend on the quality of underlying phonological representations, and hence should be impaired in dyslexia, which is characterized by poorly developed phonological representations. On the other hand, STM for order information is considered to reflect core STM processes, which are independent from language processing. Thirty adults with dyslexia and thirty control participants matched for age, education, vocabulary, and IQ were presented STM tasks, which distinguished item and order STM capacities. We observed not only impaired order STM in adults with dyslexia, but this impairment was independent of item STM impairment. This study shows that adults with dyslexia present a deficit in core verbal STM processes, a deficit which cannot be accounted for by the language processing difficulties that characterize dyslexia. Moreover, these results support recent theoretical accounts considering independent order STM and item STM processes, with a potentially causal involvement of order STM processes in reading acquisition. [less ▲]

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See detailPROFINTEG: A TOOL FOR REAL-LIFE ASSESSMENT OF ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING IN PATIENTS WITH COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT
Anselme, Patrick ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg; Bouwens, Sharon et al

in Psychologica Belgica (2013), 53(1), 3-22

Although there are many instruments for assessing activities of daily living (IADL) in brain injured patients, few instruments specifically target cognitive impairment and its impact on IADL. The present ... [more ▼]

Although there are many instruments for assessing activities of daily living (IADL) in brain injured patients, few instruments specifically target cognitive impairment and its impact on IADL. The present study presents the development of the Profinteg instrument, a tool for real-life assessment as well as rehabilitation of IADL in patients with cognitive impairment. This two-stage instrument covers over 90 activities. Psychometric properties of the different Profinteg measures were explored in twenty-five patients with mild to severe cognitive difficulties and twenty-five caregivers. The feasibility of the Profinteg rehabilitation procedure was explored in three patients. Excellent interrater reliability (r > 0.90, p < 0.01) was observed for all measures. Good sensitivity to changes in IADL disability over time was also observed (T = 2.37, p < 0.02). Significant improvement of IADL functioning was found after rehabilitation guided by Profinteg assessment. The Profinteg instrument detects with precision the difficulties patients encounter in their real-life setting via (1) assessment of a large number of activities and (2) detailed decomposition of activities into sub-activities. The Profinteg tool also provides promising results for guidance of IADL rehabilitation in the patient’s real-life environment. [less ▲]

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See detailChanges in naming and semantic abilities with aging from 50 to 90 years
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (2013)

The aim of this study was to determine whether naming difficulties arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a picture naming ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to determine whether naming difficulties arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a picture naming task. To uncover subtle naming difficulties, latencies were analyzed in addition to accuracy. In order to control whether the expected slower naming latencies could be due to a general slowing affecting all cognitive tasks, participants were also given an odd/even judgment task to assess cognitive processing speed. The results confirmed that participants in their 50s presented decline in naming performance, reflected by an increase in naming latencies, whereas adults in their 60s and their 70s showed both a decrease in accuracy and an increase in latency. Moreover, the increase in naming latencies remained significant even after controlling for odd/even judgment latencies, suggesting a degradation specific to the picture naming task. We assumed that these slower latencies may result from a language-specific impairment. As a further test for language-specific degradation, participants’ semantic capacities were also assessed with a synonym judgment task and the Pyramids and Palm Trees test. The above-70 group showed semantic degradation. The contributions of multiple factors to naming difficulties in aging are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe relationships between anomia and short-term memory deficits
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2012, October)

Anomia is the most common symptom of language dysfunction occurring in aphasia. Moreover, verbal short-term memory (STM) impairments are a frequent characteristic of aphasic syndromes. However, the nature ... [more ▼]

Anomia is the most common symptom of language dysfunction occurring in aphasia. Moreover, verbal short-term memory (STM) impairments are a frequent characteristic of aphasic syndromes. However, the nature of these deficits and their relationships to language production impairments in these patients are still debated. Recent STM models have been proposed incorporating relationships between language representations and STM, including distinct capacities for temporary storage of phonological and lexical-semantic information (N. Martin & Saffran, 1992; R. Martin, Lesch, & Bartha, 1999). This study explores the relationships between anomia and STM deficits. We assume that a naming impairment may be related to either a phonological STM impairment with preserved lexical-semantic STM or to an impaired lexical-semantic STM with preserved phonological STM. We tested these predictions in two aphasic patients, BN and TM. Phonological STM was assessed using a rhyme-probe task (R. Martin et al., 1999) and a lexical-decision task, each target word being preceded by a phonologically related prime word. Lexical-semantic STM was assessed by a category-probe task and a lexical-decision task with semantically related primes. BN was impaired on the rhyme-probe task and presented a reversed phonological priming effect, suggesting phonological STM impairment. However, she presented normal performance on the category-probe task and a normal semantic priming effect. By contrast, TM performed normally on the rhyme-probe and phonological lexical-decision tasks but was impaired on the category-probe task and presented no semantic priming effect, indicating lexical-semantic STM impairment. Moreover, both patients’ word retrieval capacity, as assessed with a picture naming task, was impaired. BN produced phonological paraphasias, repetitive self-corrections and presented an increased length effect. We assume that BN’s errors and effects may be related to her phonological STM deficit. TM instead produced semantic paraphasias, omissions and circumlocutions and presented an increased frequency effect. These errors and effects may be related to his lexical-semantic STM deficit. Results show a double dissociation between phonological and lexical-semantic STM deficits. Furthermore, the patients’ naming patterns seem to indicate that their naming impairment may be related to a selective STM deficit. The results are discussed within the STM framework of N. Martin and Saffran (1992). Martin, N., & Saffran, E. (1992). A computational account of deep dysphasia: evidence from a single case study. Brain and Language, 43(1), 240-274. Martin, R. C., Lesch, M. F., & Bartha, M. C. (1999). Independence of input and output phonology in word processing and short-term memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 41(1), 3-29. [less ▲]

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See detailChange in naming abilities between the ages of 50 and 90: The importance of analyzing naming latency
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Stem-, spraak- en taalpathologie (2012, September), 17(2), 126-128

This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a ... [more ▼]

This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a picture naming task. To uncover subtle naming difficulties, correct naming latencies were analyzed, in addition to accuracy. Moreover, in order to control whether the expected slower naming latencies could be due to a general slowing affecting all cognitive tasks, participants were also given an odd/even judgment task to assess cognitive processing speed. In participants in their 50s, we found subtle naming difficulties revealed by longer naming latencies, unaccompanied by any decrease in naming accuracy. The age-related naming disadvantage increased with age with the onset of naming errors. Thus, in adults in their 60s and their 70s, the results showed both a decrease in accuracy and an increase in correct naming latencies. Moreover, the increase in naming latencies remained significant even after controlling for odd/even judgment latencies, suggesting a degradation specific to the picture naming task. We assumed that these slower latencies may result from a language-specific impairment. [less ▲]

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See detailChange in naming abilities between the ages of 50 and 90: The importance of analyzing naming latency
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2012, September)

Introduction This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. According to Feyereisen (1997), these difficulties begin at the age ... [more ▼]

Introduction This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. According to Feyereisen (1997), these difficulties begin at the age of 70, but Nicholas, Connor, Obler, and Albert (1998); Connor, Spiro, Obler, and Albert (2004) observed subtle signs of decreased naming performance in participants in their 50s. However, these studies focused on naming accuracy. To our knowledge, no study has analyzed naming latencies in participants in their 50s in comparison with younger participants. We assume that such analyses may highlight more subtle difficulties in naming. In our study, both naming latencies and naming accuracy were analyzed in a picture naming task presented to 4 age groups: 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years old. If people in their 50s experience subtle naming difficulties, these should be reflected in longer picture naming latencies compared to younger participants. In participants above 70 years of age, the decline should be more apparent and may be underlined not only by slower naming latencies but also by lower picture naming scores. The explanation for naming difficulties in aging is also a matter of debate. According to some authors (e.g., Salthouse, 1996), these difficulties are a consequence of a general slowing in all cognitive tasks, including language, in the elderly. However, other theories suggest that the relevant difficulties are more language-specific and are due to connection weaknesses across the entire language system, leading to more naming errors and longer naming latencies (e.g., Burke, MacKay, Worthley, & Wade, 1991). In order to determine the extent to which the slowing of naming latencies in the elderly is related to a slowing of cognitive processing, participants’ cognitive processing speed was assessed with an odd/even judgment task. We were also interested in seeing whether slowing on the odd/even judgment task arises at the same age than slowing on the picture naming task. Methods Participants Four groups of 30 participants took part in the present study: (1) between 25 and 35 years of age, (2) between 50 and 59 years of age, (3) between 60 and 69 years of age and (4) above 70 years of age (70+). All subjects were native French speakers and reported no history of neurological, cardiac, neuropsychological or psychiatric disorders, and no uncorrected hearing or visual problems. Dementia was excluded with the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (Schmidt, Freidl, Fasekas, Reinhart, & Grieshofer, 1994). No differences between groups were found for vocabulary level (Mill Hill test; Deltour, 1993) or socio-economic background. Materials Participants performed a picture naming task (150 black and white drawings selected from the set of Bonin, Peereman, Maladier, Méot, and Chalard, 2003). Both the number of correct responses and naming latencies were analyzed. We also analyzed response latencies on an odd/even judgment task on 50 digits from 1 to 9, to assess cognitive processing speed. Results For the picture naming task, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) performed on the number of correctly named items revealed an effect of age, F(3,116)=35.36, p<.001. Tukey post hoc comparisons (p<.05) indicated that the 70+ age group named fewer items correctly than the 60-69 age group, which performed worse than the 25-35 and 50-59 age groups, which in turn did not differ from each other. However, the ANOVA performed on correct naming latencies did not show the same pattern of results. This analysis revealed an effect of age, F(3,116)=35.36, p<.001. Tukey post hoc comparisons (p<.05) indicated that the 25-35 age group responded faster than the 50-59 and 60-69 age groups, which did not differ from each other. The 70+ age group responded more slowly than the 3 younger groups. For the odd/even judgment task, the ANOVA performed on response latencies indicated an effect of age, F(3,116)= 96.40, p<.001. Tukey post hoc comparisons (p<.05) showed that the 25-35 and 50-59 age groups did not differ from each other and responded faster than the 60-69 and 70+ age groups, which in turn did not differ from each other. An analysis of covariance was also performed on naming latencies, using the latencies on the odd/even judgment task as covariate. There was a significant effect of age, F(4,115)=54.56, p<.001. Tukey post hoc analysis indicated that the 25-35 age group responded faster than the 50-59 and 60-69 age groups, which did not differ from each other. The 70+ age group performed more slowly than the 3 younger groups. Thus, a slowing of picture naming latencies was found in participants above 50 years of age. This slowing remained significant even when cognitive processing speed was controlled for. Discussion The increase in correct naming latencies on the picture naming task in participants in their 50s suggests the presence of subtle age-related word finding difficulties. In participants in their 60s, naming difficulties were highlighted by both a decrease in correct responses and an increase in naming latencies. Finally, in participants above 70 years of age, these difficulties became more pronounced in both naming accuracy and naming latencies. Slowing on the picture naming task appears to be greater and to arise earlier in the adult lifespan (in participants in their 50s) than slowing on the odd-even judgment task assessing processing speed (in participants in their 60s). Moreover, this slowing of picture naming latencies in participants in their 50s remained significant even when processing speed was controlled for with an analysis of covariance. In conclusion, these results support the importance of naming latency analyses in uncovering subtle naming difficulties. Furthermore, although we do not exclude a possible impact of general slowing on naming latencies in participants above 50 years of age, these findings suggest that the slowing in naming at this age observed here may be explained by a specific age-related slowing within the language system. References Bonin, P., Peereman, R., Maladier, N., Méot, A., & Chalard, M. (2003). A new set of 299 pictures for psycholinguistic studies: French norms for name agreement, image agreement, conceptual familiarity, visual complexity, image variability, age of acquisition, and naming latencies. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35(1), 158-167. Burke, D. M., MacKay, D. G., Worthley, J. S., & Wade, E. (1991). On the tip of the tongue: what causes word finding failures in young and older adults? Journal of Memory and Language, 30(1), 542-579. Connor, L.T., Spiro, A., Obler, L. K., & Albert, M. L. (2004). Change in object naming ability during adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 59(5), 203-209. Deltour, J. J. (1993). Echelle de vocabulaire Mill Hill de J.C. Raven. Braine-le-Chateau, Belgium: Editions l’Application des Techniques Modernes. Feyereisen, P. (1997). A meta-analytic procedure shows an age-related decline in picture naming: Comments on Goulet, Ska et Kahn (1994). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 40(1), 1328-1333. Nicholas, M., Connor, L.T., Obler, L. K., & Albert, M. L. (1998). Aging, Language, and Language Disorders. In M. Taylor Sarno (Ed.), Acquired Aphasia (pp. 413-449). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Salthouse, T. A. (1996). The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review, 103(3), 403-428. Schmidt, R., Freidl, W., Fasekas, F., Reinhart, B., & Grieshofer, P. (1994). Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. [less ▲]

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See detailThe acquisition of new orthographic representations among dyslexic children
Binamé, Florence ULg; Defraigne, Aurélie; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2012, July 14)

Purpose – In developmental dyslexia, spelling deficits have been much less explored than reading deficits, although the former tend to be more persistent than the latter. The aim of this study was to ... [more ▼]

Purpose – In developmental dyslexia, spelling deficits have been much less explored than reading deficits, although the former tend to be more persistent than the latter. The aim of this study was to explore the ability to acquire new orthographic representations through different learning conditions in dyslexic children. Method – Fifteen dyslexic French-speaking children (mean chronological age: 11; 4 years; mean reading age: 7; 6 years), 15 chronological age (CA) and 15 reading age (RA) matched controls participated in the study. Their ability to acquire new orthographic representations was assessed through different learning conditions: isolated pseudowords decoding, text reading with embedded target pseudowords and writing of pseudowords after presentation in their visual form associated or not to a semantic representation. In each condition, ten target pseudowords were presented six times. Orthographic learning was measured by a dictation of the targets immediately after the learning session and one week later. Results – Orthographic learning of dyslexics was significantly impaired and decreased more over time relative to CA group but not to RA group. Otherwise, dyslexics, as other groups, performed better when learning conditions consisted in writing pseudowords than in decoding them. Furthermore the condition associating a semantic representation to the pseudowords did not enhance the performances in any group. Conclusion – These results confirm that decoding abilities are essential to develop orthographic representations and suggest that writing is a powerful learning mechanism in dyslexic as in normal readers. By contrast, a semantic representation seems not to support the development of orthographic representations. [less ▲]

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See detailThe effects of aging on verbal short-term memory and word production capacities
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2012, June)

The effects of aging on verbal short-term memory (STM) are still a matter of debate (e.g., Nilsson et al., 2003). Recent models of STM distinguish processes involved in the retention of item information ... [more ▼]

The effects of aging on verbal short-term memory (STM) are still a matter of debate (e.g., Nilsson et al., 2003). Recent models of STM distinguish processes involved in the retention of item information (i.e., the identity of words) and order information (i.e., the order of presentation of items) (see Majerus, 2008, for a review). Finally, these models also incorporate relationships between STM and word production capacities, which are often impaired in aging (Burke et al., 1991). The aims of this study are (1) to explore the effects of aging on both item and order STM capacities, (2) to explore the effects of aging on naming capacities and (3) to explore the relationships between STM and naming in aging. Three groups of participants participated in the present study: (1) 56-64 years old (N=26) – (2) 65-74 years old (N=23) – (3) 75-84 years old (N=22). The participants' hearing thresholds were analyzed with a pure tone audiometer. The participants were asked to perform STM tasks and a picture naming task. The results confirm the presence of naming difficulties in participants above 65 years of age, as previously shown by Verhaegen and Poncelet (in press). By contrast, in STM, the differences become non significant when the hearing status is controlled for. However, the items are presented auditorily in all STM tasks. Therefore, in order to confirm the absence of age-related differences in STM, it would be of interest to assess the participants with visual STM tasks. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of the effect of learning to read in English or in Dutch on the acquisition of the French orthographic code in French-speaking children attending immersion school programs.
Binamé, Florence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg; Guyon, Charline

Poster (2012, May 10)

Most of the children attending bilingual immersion school programs in the French Community of Belgium learn to read in the immersion language before learning to read in their native language. This study ... [more ▼]

Most of the children attending bilingual immersion school programs in the French Community of Belgium learn to read in the immersion language before learning to read in their native language. This study aimed to explore the effect of learning to read in a second language having a transparent (Dutch) versus an opaque (English) orthographic code, on the later acquisition of French spelling. Because literacy acquisition depends on the orthographic depth of the code, the hypothesis is that learning to spell in a transparent language such as Dutch would promote the acquisition of the more opaque French spelling, by transferring the phonological recoding process. Contrariwise, the acquisition of French spelling would be less easy if learners were first immersed in very opaque spelling such as English. Participants were 182 third and fourth-graders immersed in Dutch or English, and monolingual French speakers (control group). Their French spelling skills were tested by words and non-words dictation. Results showed that the performance of Dutch immersed children was not significantly inferior to controls, which is not the case for English immersed children. This corroborates the fact that learning to spell in a more transparent orthographic code than French has a subsequent benefit on its acquisition. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence for a specific impairment of serial order short-term memory in dyslexic children
Martinez Perez, Trecy ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Mahot, Aline et al

in Dyslexia : The Journal of the British Dyslexia Association (2012), 18(2), 94-109

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