An Ear for Language: Sensitivity to fast Amplitude Rise Times predicts novel vocabulary learning

Marta Marecka*, Tim Fosker, Jakub Szewczyk, Patrycja Kałamała, Zofia Wodniecka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This study tested whether individual sensitivity to an auditory perceptual cue called Amplitude Rise Time (ART) facilitates novel word learning. Forty adult native speakers of Polish performed a perceptual task testing their sensitivity to ART, learned associations between nonwords and pictures of common objects, and were subsequently tested on their knowledge with a Picture Recognition (PR) task. In the PR task participants heard each nonword, followed either by a congruent or incongruent picture, and had to assess if the picture matched the nonword. Word learning efficiency was measured by accuracy and reaction time on the PR task and modulation of the N300 ERP. As predicted, participants with greater sensitivity to ART showed better performance in PR suggesting that auditory sensitivity indeed facilitates learning of novel words. Contrary to expectations, the N300 was not modulated by sensititvity to ART suggesting that the behavioural and ERP measures reflect different underlying processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987
JournalStudies in Second Language Acquisition
Issue number5
Early online date10 Jun 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 10 Jun 2020


  • Amplitude Rise Time discrimination
  • vocabulary learning
  • N300
  • paired associates
  • auditory word learning


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