, 2011), a phenomenon referred to as sound symbolism It has also

, 2011), a phenomenon referred to as sound symbolism. It has also been reported that toddlers

are not only sensitive to sound symbolism (Maurer et al., 2006) but also make Belnacasan concentration use of sound symbolism in verb learning (Imai et al., 2008 and Kantartzis et al., 2011). The results from preverbal infants (Ozturk et al., 2013 and Peña et al., 2011) and those from toddlers (Imai et al., 2008, Kantartzis et al., 2011 and Maurer et al., 2006) support the idea that sound symbolism plays an important role in the ontogenesis of language (Imai and Kita, 2014, Imai et al., 2008 and Maurer et al., 2006). It is generally agreed that infants start to associate speech sounds and visual referents at around 12–14 months. At this age, however, the process is effortful because infants have limited information processing capacities and little experience in mapping words to the world (Fennell and Werker, 2003 and Werker et al., 1998). They may rely more on perceptually based cues that are available without prior word learning experiences, such as cross-modal correspondences between speech and visual input in their word learning. Indeed, previous research suggests that 14-month-old infants use sound-symbolic correspondences between speech sounds and object properties as a cue in their effort to establish word (speech sounds) – referent associations (Imai

et al., under review and Miyazaki et al., see more 2013). Thus, there is some evidence that sound symbolism helps young infants at the initial stage of word learning. However, how sound symbolism is processed in the infants’ brain has not yet been addressed in the literature. It is not conceivable that four-month-old infants are actively engaged in semantic processing when they hear speech sounds together with a visually presented referent (Stager & Werker, 1997). Thus, infants at this age are likely to process

sound symbolism perceptually, Amoxicillin possibly on the basis of cross-modal binding mechanisms. However, at later times, the influence of sound symbolism is likely to transpire in temporal windows compatible with higher-level information processing, i.e., the semantic level. In this study, we investigated how 11-month-old infants respond to sound symbolism. If perceptual cross-modal mapping ability scaffolds the establishment of word-referent associations, we might see the effect of sound symbolism in two time-windows: (a) in an early time window coinciding with the time period of perceptual processing, and (b) in a time window coinciding with higher-level cognition and/or semantic processing. We chose to study 11-month-olds because they are just about to say their first words but there is little or no evidence to date for the successful establishment of novel word-referent associations in experimental settings at this age. To examine this possibility, we recorded EEG from nineteen children during the presentation of novel word – visual shape pairs that were either sound-symbolically congruent or incongruent (Fig.

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