Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Experience-dependent brain development as a key...

Electronic data

  • TopiCS_Author_accepted

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Westermann, G. (2016), Experience-Dependent Brain Development as a Key to Understanding the Language System. Topics in Cognitive Science, 8: 446–458. doi: 10.1111/tops.12194 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tops.12194/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript, 173 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Links

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Experience-dependent brain development as a key to understanding the language system

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Topics in Cognitive Science
Issue number2
Volume8
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)446-458
Publication statusPublished
Early online date3/03/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

An influential view of the nature of the language system is that of an evolved biological system in which a set of rules is combined with a lexicon that contains the words of the language together with a representation of their context. Alternative views, usually based on connectionist modeling, attempt to explain the structure of language on the basis of complex associative processes. Here I put forward a third view that stresses experience-dependent structural development of the brain circuits supporting language as a core principle of the organization of the language system. On this view, embodied in a recent neuroconstructivist neural network of past tense development and processing, initial domain-general predispositions enable the development of functionally specialized brain structures through interactions between experience-dependent brain development and statistical learning in a structured environment. Together, these processes shape a biological adult language system that appears to separate into distinct mechanism for processing rules and exceptions, whereas in reality those subsystems co-develop and interact closely. This view puts experience-dependent brain development in response to a specific language environment at the heart of understanding not only language development but adult language processing as well.

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Westermann, G. (2016), Experience-Dependent Brain Development as a Key to Understanding the Language System. Topics in Cognitive Science, 8: 446–458. doi: 10.1111/tops.12194 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tops.12194/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.