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Lisa M. Henderson, Anna R. Weighall, Helen Brown and M. Gareth Gaskell Consolidation of vocabulary is associated with sleep in children Developmental Science 15

Article first published online: 9 AUG 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01172.x

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Although the acquisition of a novel word is apparently rapid, adult research suggests that integration of novel and existing knowledge (measured by engagement in lexical competition) requires sleep-associated consolidation. We present the first investigation of whether a similar time-course dissociation characterizes word learning across development. We found that novel nonwords only induced lexical competition effects for 7–12 year olds after sleep. These findings suggest that children utilize a dual memory system when acquiring and integrating new vocabulary and highlight sleep as integral to this process.

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