ERIC Number: EJ774366
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Do 9-Month-Old Infants Expect Distinct Words to Refer to Kinds?
Dewar, Kathryn; Xu, Fei
Developmental Psychology, v43 n5 p1227-1238 Sep 2007
In 3 experiments, 9-month-old infants' expectations for what distinct count noun labels refer to were investigated. In Experiment 1, a box was opened to reveal 2 objects inside during familiarization: either 2 identical objects or 2 different objects. Test trials followed the same procedure, except before the box was opened, the contents were described using 2 distinct labels ("I see a wug! I see a dak!") or the same label twice ("I see a zav! I see a zav!"). Infants who heard a label repeated twice looked longer at 2 different objects versus 2 identical objects, whereas infants who heard 2 distinct labels showed a different pattern of looking. Experiments 2 and 3 presented infants with object pairs that only differed in shape or color, and it was found that infants expected the different-shaped (but not the different-colored) objects to be labeled by distinct count nouns. Because the property of shape is a cue to kind membership and the property of color is not, these results suggest that even at the beginning of word learning, infants may expect distinct labels to refer to distinct kinds of objects.
Descriptors: Nouns, Infants, Expectation, Familiarity, Vocabulary Development, Novelty (Stimulus Dimension), Learning Strategies, Language Research, Cognitive Mapping, Patterned Responses, Color, Classification, Paired Associate Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A