How do properties of semantic memory influence the integration of new memories via Fast Mapping?

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In adults, successful word learning depends on incorporating new knowledge into already existing memory networks. Recent studies have formed an updated view on the role of existing knowledge in rapid acquisition of new memories. An experimental word learning paradigm called Fast Mapping (FM) has shown evidence of rapid integration into long-term memory systems. Normally, this integration is a gradual and timely process, which often benefits from sleep. However, fast mapping is interesting because it has shown evidence for integration right after testing, rather than over a consolidation period. In this paradigm, participants learn the name of a new item whilst it is presented side by side with an item that is known to them (foil). This formed a hypothesis that this fast mapping paradigm could modulate a rapid acquisition response into semantic memory. This study tested this hypothesis by researching forty healthy native Dutch adults and comparing a fast mapping and an incidental encoding (IE) paradigm. Additionally, the semantic properties of the known items were manipulated to influence the effect of existing knowledge. We influenced this effect by using known items with many semantic associations (dense foils) or fewer associations (sparse foils). The hypotheses in this study were tested using a lexical integration task and a three-alternative forced choice recognition task. The present study showed no evidence for fast mapping to modulate rapid acquisition through lexical integration or recognition. Further, it showed no evidence for foils with a dense semantic neighborhood to cause a lexical integration effect or increase accuracy in the recognition task.
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