Sleep underpins the plasticity of language production

Gaskell, M. Gareth and Warker, Jill and Lindsay, Shane and Frost, Rebecca and Guest, James and Snowdon, Reza and Stackhouse, Abigail (2014) Sleep underpins the plasticity of language production. Psychological Science. ISSN 0956-7976

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The constraints that govern acceptable phoneme combinations in speech perception and production have considerable plasticity. We addressed whether sleep influences the acquisition of new constraints and their integration into the speech-production system. Participants repeated sequences of syllables in which two phonemes were artificially restricted to syllable onset or syllable coda, depending on the vowel in that sequence. After 48 sequences, participants either had a 90-min nap or remained awake. Participants then repeated 96 sequences so implicit constraint learning could be examined, and then were tested for constraint generalization in a forced-choice task. The sleep group, but not the wake group, produced speech errors at test that were consistent with restrictions on the placement of phonemes in training. Furthermore, only the sleep group generalized their learning to new materials. Polysomnography data showed that implicit constraint learning was associated with slow-wave sleep. These results show that sleep facilitates the integration of new linguistic knowledge with existing production constraints. These data have relevance for systems-consolidation models of sleep.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Psychological Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:
sleep ; plasticity ; phonotactic constraints ; speech errors ; production ; slow-wave sleep ; learning ; open data ; open materials
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Deposited On:
16 Jun 2014 07:52
Last Modified:
11 Jun 2019 01:19