The development of an ERP response reflecting phoneme awareness
LE3 .A278 2015
Newman, Randy Lynn
Bachelor of Science
The purpose of this study was to better understand the neural mechanisms underlying phoneme awareness using event related potentials (ERPs). Past research indicated that phoneme awareness typically develops along with reading instruction. Therefore, three groups were tested: pre-readers (~4 yrs), emergent readers (5-6 yrs), and early fluent readers (7-8 yrs). Participants completed a picture-word matching task, where a picture (e.g., CONE) was followed by a spoken word that matched (e.g., cone) or mismatched the picture in one of two ways: rhyme (CONE-bone) mismatch or unrelated (CONE-fox) mismatch. ERP data focused on the phonological mapping negativity (PMN), a response shown to be associated with the processing of phoneme information. Consistent with predictions, there was no discernable PMN in the pre-readers, whereas the emergent readers showed a PMN in the rhyme mismatch condition. While the early fluent readers showed PMN responses in both mismatch conditions, they were not significantly different from the match condition, due to small sample size (n = 7). Overall, these preliminary results suggest that the PMN develops along with the onset of reading instruction; however, if significant differences between groups are to be observed more participants are required. Keywords: Event-Related Potentials (ERP), phonological mapping negativity (PMN), segmental, suprasegmental, children, prereaders, emergent readers, early fluent readers
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