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ERIC Number: EJ1056479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Cross-Situational Word Learning in the Right Situations
Dautriche, Isabelle; Chemla, Emmanuel
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v40 n3 p892-903 May 2014
Upon hearing a novel word, language learners must identify its correct meaning from a diverse set of situationally relevant options. Such referential ambiguity could be reduced through "repetitive" exposure to the novel word across diverging learning situations, a learning mechanism referred to as "cross-situational learning." Previous research has focused on the amount of information learners carry over from 1 learning instance to the next. In the present article, we investigate how "context" can modulate the learning strategy and its efficiency. Results from 4 cross-situational learning experiments with adults suggest the following: (a) Learners encode more than the specific hypotheses they form about the meaning of a word, providing evidence against the recent view referred to as "single hypothesis testing." (b) Learning is faster when learning situations consistently contain members from a given group, regardless of whether this group is a semantically coherent group (e.g., animals) or induced through repetition (objects being presented together repetitively, just like a fork and a door may occur together repetitively in a kitchen). (c) Learners are subject to memory illusions, in a way that suggests that the learning situation itself appears to be encoded in memory during learning. Overall, our findings demonstrate that "realistic" contexts (such as the situation in which a given word has occurred; e.g., in the zoo or in the kitchen) help learners retrieve or discard potential referents for a word, because such contexts can be memorized and associated with a to-be-learned word.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A