Learning new words: memory reactivation as a mechanism for strengthening and updating a novel word´s meaning
LAURINO JULIETA; FORCATO CECILIA; COAKER NIKOLE; PEDREIRA MARÍA E; KACZER LAURA
In the present study we explored the post-learning changes in a novel word?s definition usinga cue-induced memory reactivation. Native speakers of Spanish (N=373) learned lowfrequency words with their corresponding definitions. The following day, reactivated groupswere exposed to a reminder and provided a subjective assessment of reactivation for each word,while control groups did not receive a reactivation. Study A demonstrated that memoryreactivation enhances both explicit recall and semantic integration of new meanings. Study Binvestigated the effect of memory reactivation in the modification of the new meanings,through three different experiments. Results show an improvement of the updated definitionsaccording to each word´s reactivation strength. In addition, congruence with previousknowledge was found to be a boundary condition, while consolidation time had a positivemodulatory effect. Our findings call attention to reactivation as a factor allowing formalleability as well as persistence of long-term memories for words.