A Developmental Shift in the Relationship Between Sequential Learning, Executive Function, and Language Ability as Revealed by Event-Related Potentials


Previous research has shown a link between sequential learning (SL) and language as well as links between executive function (EF) and both language and SL. However, little research has focused on both the development of the relationship between these factors and their neurological underpinnings. Here we report a study of the event-related potential (ERP) correlates of SL and behavioral measures of language and EF in a sample of 7-12-year-old children. Results revealed that both SL and EF had independent associations with language development but that the contribution that both made toward language development shifted dramatically between the ages of 7 to 11-12 years. The results furthermore suggest that this developmental shift may be due in part to the maturation of EF abilities and changes due to neural entrenchment and commitment as a consequence of language acquisition.

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