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ERIC Number: EJ1087505
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1547-5441
Flexible Use of Mutual Exclusivity in Word Learning
Kalashnikova, Marina; Mattock, Karen; Monaghan, Padraic
Language Learning and Development, v12 n1 p79-91 2016
From an early age, children apply the mutual exclusivity (ME) assumption, demonstrating preference for one-to-one mappings between words and their referents. However, for the acquisition of referentially overlapping terms, ME use must be suspended. We test whether contextual cues to intended meaning, in the form of presence of a speaker, may be critical for flexible ME application. Four- to five-year-old children were tested on two word learning tasks requiring flexible use of ME, respectively. In Experiment 1, children saw video recordings of the speakers introducing the novel labels. All children successfully applied ME and succeeded in accepting lexical overlap. In Experiment 2, with audio recordings of speakers only, children were unsuccessful at accepting lexical overlap. Thus, flexible use of ME relies on a developing ability to utilise the contextual information present in communicative interactions.
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
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