NeuroNet. Research shows language requires both storing words in our brains and real-time composition. A new study, published in PLoS ONE, discovers a difference between how boys and girls store and retrieve words. Our brains store sounds, words and common phrases, while also storing real-time composition of longer words and sentences. For example, making a longer word ‘walked’ from a smaller word ‘walk’ is dependent on an individual’s real-time composition ability. Previous studies have often focused on understanding how these processes work in adults, but not children. In this study, researchers examined forty-five children with an average age of 9 years old. Each child was presented with 29 irregular (e.g., hold-held) and 29 regular (e.g., walk-walked) verbs. Only verbs that were known to 8-year-olrds were used in the experiment.

The children were given two sentences. One sentence featured the verb in the context of the sentence, with the second sentence containing a blank space to allow the children to produce the past-tense form. For instance, Every day I walk to school. Just like every day, yesterday I ____ to school.


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