NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ861712
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Infants' Learning of Novel Words in a Stochastic Environment
Vouloumanos, Athena; Werker, Janet F.
Developmental Psychology, v45 n6 p1611-1617 Nov 2009
In everyday word learning words are only sometimes heard in the presence of their referent, making the acquisition of novel words a particularly challenging task. The current study investigated whether children (18-month-olds who are novice word learners) can track the statistics of co-occurrence between words and objects to learn novel mappings in a stochastic environment. Infants were briefly trained on novel word-novel object pairs with variable degrees of co-occurrence: Words were either paired reliably with 1 referent or stochastically paired with 2 different referents with varying probabilities. Infants were sensitive to the co-occurrence statistics between words and referents, tracking not just the strongest available contingency but also low-frequency information. The statistical strength of the word-referent mapping may also modulate real-time online lexical processing in infants. Infants are thus able to track stochastic relationships between words and referents in the process of learning novel words. (Contains 1 table and 2 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A