Russian Psychological Issues
JournalsTopicsAuthorsEditor's Choice For AuthorsAbout PsyJournals.ruContact Us

  Previous issue (2020. Vol. 9, no. 1)

Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (online): 2304-4977


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2012

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


Can learning new words in auditory modality lead to rapid cortical plasticity in adults 21

Razorenova A.M.
Post-Graduate Student, Center for Computational and Data-Intensive Science and Engineering (CDISE), Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Junior researcher, Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG center), Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia

Skavronskaya V.V.
Junior Researcher, Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG Center), Moscow State, Moscow, Russia

Tyulenev N.B.
Junior Researcher, Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG Center), Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia

Rytikova A.M.
PhD, Junior Researcher, Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG Center), Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia

Chernyshev B.V.
PhD, ead of the Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG-center), Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia

A stable relation between words and referent objects or events underlies human language. One of the most fundamental questions is how brain processes new words in order to form new lexical items. The answer to such questions will bring significant breakthrough in multiple fields, ranging from methods of language teaching and speech correction programs for children with late development to clinical rehabilitation of patients with speech impairments and neurophysiological functional tests of language network. This review presents the current state of Russian and foreign studies dedicated to new words learning in auditory modality. We tried to consider all varieties of techniques and paradigms in the field. Equal attention is paid both to studies of the phonological processing of a word (recognition of a phonetic pattern), and to works which consider the ways in which word acquire semantics. We discuss experiments carried out with an aid of such neuroimaging methods as fMRI, EEG / MEG, etc.

Keywords: word learning, associative learning, operant learning, word semantics, MEG, EEG, fMRI, cortical plasticity, familiarization, consolidation

Column: Cognitive pedagogy


For Reference


The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 17-29-02168.

  1. Borovsky A., Kutas M., Elman J.L. Getting it right: Word learning across the hemispheres Arielle. Neuropsychologia, 2013. Vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 825–837. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.01.027
  2. Carey S., Bartlett E. Acquiring a single new word. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, 1978. Vol. 15, pp. 17–29.
  3. Davis M.H., Gaskell M.G. A complementary systems account of word learning: neural and behavioural evidence. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 2009. Vol. 364, no. 1536, pp. 3773–3800. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2009.0111
  4. DeWitt I., Rauschecker J.P. Phoneme and word recognition in the auditory ventral stream. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012. Vol. 8, no. 109, pp. 505–514. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1113427109
  5. Fargier R. et al. Differentiating semantic categories during the acquisition of novel words: Correspondence analysis applied to event-related potentials. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 2014. Vol. 26, no. 11, pp. 2552–2563. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00669
  6. Dumay N., Gaskell M.G. Sleep-associated changes in the mental representation of spoken words: Research report. Psychological Science, 2007. Vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 35–39. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01845.x
  7. Yue J. et al. Early access to lexical-level phonological representations of Mandarin word-forms: evidence from auditory N1 habituation. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 2017. Vol. 32, no. 9, pp. 1148–1163. DOI:10.1080/23273798.2017.1290261
  8. Bosshardt S. et al. Effects of memory consolidation on human hippocampal activity during retrieval. Cortex, 2005. Vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 486–498. DOI:10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70189-8
  9. Engell A.D., Huettel S., McCarthy G. The fMRI BOLD signal tracks electrophysiological spectral perturbations, not event-related potentials. NeuroImage, 2012. Vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 2600–2606. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.08.079
  10. Blake D.T. et al. Experience-Dependent Adult Cortical Plasticity Requires Cognitive Association between Sensation and Reward. Neuron, 2006. Vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 371–381. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2006.08.009
  11. Blake D.T. et al. Experience-Dependent Plasticity in S1 Caused by Noncoincident Inputs. Journal of Neurophysiology, 2005. Vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 2239–2250. DOI:10.1152/jn.00172.2005
  12. Fodor J.A. The modularity of mind. Cambridge; London: MIT press, 1983. 144 p.
  13. Gaskell M.G., Dumay N. Lexical competition and the acquisition of novel words. Cognition, 2003. Vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 105–132. DOI:10.1016/S0010-0277(03)00070-2
  14. Griffiths T.D., Warre J.D. What is an auditory object? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2004. Vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 887–892. DOI:10.1038/nrn1538
  15. Hawkins E., Astle D.E., Rastle K. Semantic advantage for learning new phonological form representations. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 2015. Vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 775–786. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00730
  16. Breitenstein C. et al. Hippocampus activity differentiates good from poor learners of a novel lexicon. NeuroImage, 2005. Vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 958–968. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.12.019
  17. Hofstetter S., Friedmann N., Assaf Y. Rapid language-related plasticity: microstructural changes in the cortex after a short session of new word learning. Brain Structure & Function, 2017. Vol. 222, no. 3, pp. 1231–1241. DOI:10.1007/s00429-016-1273-2
  18. Kimppa L., Kujala T., Shtyrov Y. Individual language experience modulates rapid formation of cortical memory circuits for novel words. Scientific Reports, 2016. Vol. 6, pp. 1–10. DOI:10.1038/srep30227
  19. Kompus K., Westerhausen R. Increased MMN amplitude following passive perceptual learning with LTP-like rapid stimulation. Neuroscience Letters, 2018. Vol. 666, pp. 28–31. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2017.12.035
  20. Kutas M., Federmeier K.D. Thirty Years and Counting: Finding Meaning in the N400 Component of the Event-Related Brain Potential (ERP) [Elektronnyi resurs]. Annual review of psychology, 2011. Vol. 62, pp. 621–647. URL: (Accessed 22.05.2020).
  21. Merhav M., Karni A., Gilboa A. Not all declarative memories are created equal: Fast Mapping as a direct route to cortical declarative representations. NeuroImage, 2015. Vol. 117, pp. 80–92. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.05.027
  22. Mestres-Missé A., Rodriguez-Fornells A., Münte T.F. Watching the brain during meaning acquisition [Elektronnyi resurs]. Cerebral Cortex, 2007. Vol. 17, no. 8, pp. 1858–1866. URL: (Accessed 22.05.2020).
  23. Blake D.T. et al. Neural correlates of instrumental learning in primary auditory cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2002. Vol. 99, no. 15, pp. 10114–10119. DOI:10.1073/pnas.092278099
  24. Landi N. et al. Neural representations for newly learned words are modulated by overnight consolidation, reading skill, and age. Neuropsychologia, 2018. Vol. 111, pp. 133–144. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.01.011
  25. Vasilyeva M.J. et al. Neurophysiological Correlates of Fast Mapping of Novel Words in the Adult Brain. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2019. Vol. 13, article ID 304, 10 p. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00304
  26. François C. et al. Neurophysiological evidence for the interplay of speech segmentation and word-referent mapping during novel word learning. Neuropsychologia, 2017. Vol. 98, pp. 56–67. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.10.006
  27. Rodríguez-Fornells A. et al. Neurophysiological mechanisms involved in language learning in adults. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2009. Vol. 364, no. 1536, pp. 3711–3735. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2009.0130
  28. Kimppa L. et al. Rapid and automatic speech-specific learning mechanism in human neocortex. NeuroImage, 2015. Vol. 118, pp. 282–291. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.05.098
  29. Hebscher M. et al. Rapid Cortical Plasticity Supports Long-Term Memory Formation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2019. Vol. 23, no. 12, pp. 989–1002. DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2019.09.009
  30. Aleksandrov A.A. et al. Referent’s Lexical Frequency Predicts Mismatch Negativity Responses to New Words Following Semantic Training. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 2019. Vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 187–198. DOI:10.1007/s10936-019-09678-3
  31. Takashima A. et al. Richness of information about novel words influences how episodic and semantic memory networks interact during lexicalization. NeuroImage, 2014. Vol. 84, pp. 265–278. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.08.023
  32. Sasaki Y., Nanez J.E., Watanabe T. Advances in visual perceptual learning and plasticity. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2010. Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 53–60. DOI:10.1038/nrn2737
  33. Seitz A.R., Dinse H.R. A common framework for perceptual learning. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 2007. Vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 148–153. DOI:10.1016/j.conb.2007.02.004
  34. Sharon T., Moscovitch M., Gilboa A. Rapid neocortical acquisition of long-term arbitrary associations independent of the hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011. Vol. 108, no. 3, pp. 1146–1151. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1005238108
  35. Shtyrov Y. Fast mapping of novel word forms traced neurophysiologically [Elektronnyi resurs]. Frontiers in Psychology, 2011. Vol. 2, article ID 340, pp. 1–9. URL: (Accessed 22.05.2020).
  36. Shtyrov Y., Kirsanov A., Shcherbakova O. Explicitly Slow, Implicitly Fast, or the Other Way Around? Brain Mechanisms for Word Acquisition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2019. Vol. 13, article ID 116, 4 p. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00116
  37. Shtyrov Y., Nikulin V. V, Pulvermuller F. Rapid Cortical Plasticity Underlying Novel Word Learning. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010. Vol. 30, no. 50, pp. 16864–16867. DOI:10.1523/jneurosci.1376-10.2010
  38. Tamminen J. et al. Sleep spindle activity is associated with the integration of new memories and existing knowledge. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010. Vol. 30, no. 43, pp. 14356–14360. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3028-10.2010
  39. Yue J., Bastiaanse R., Alter K. Cortical plasticity induced by rapid Hebbian learning of novel tonal word-forms: Evidence from mismatch negativity. Brain and Language, 2014. Vol. 139, pp. 10–22. DOI:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.09.007

© 2007–2020 Portal of Russian Psychological Publications. All rights reserved in Russian

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

Catalogue of academic journals in psychology & education MSUPE

Creative Commons License Open Access Repository

RSS Psyjournals at facebook Psyjournals at Twitter Psyjournals at Youtube ??????.???????