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



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.

General Information

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

Journal rubric: Cognitive Pedagogy

Article type: review article


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

For citation: Razorenova A.M., Tyulenev N.B., Rytikova A.M., Chernyshev B.V., Skavronskaya V.V. Can learning new words in auditory modality lead to rapid cortical plasticity in adults [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2020. Vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 46–56. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2020090204. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Alexandra M. Razorenova, 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, ORCID:, e-mail:

Nikita B. Tyulenev, Junior Researcher, Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG Center), Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anna M. Rytikova, PhD in Engineering, Junior Researcher, Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG Center), Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Boris V. Chernyshev, PhD in Biology, Head of Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG-Center), Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Associate Professor of the Department of Higher Nervous Activity, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Valeriya V. Skavronskaya, Junior Researcher, Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG Center), Moscow State Psychological and Pedagogical University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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