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ERIC Number: EJ917002
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0965
Rapid Fast-Mapping Abilities in 2-Year-Olds
Spiegel, Chad; Halberda, Justin
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, v109 n1 p132-140 May 2011
Learning a new word consists of two primary tasks that have often been conflated into a single process: "referent selection", in which a child must determine the correct referent of a novel label, and "referent retention", which is the ability to store this newly formed label-object mapping in memory for later use. In addition, children must be capable of performing these tasks rapidly and repeatedly as they are frequently exposed to novel words during the course of natural conversation. Here we used a preferential pointing task to investigate 2-year-olds' (N=72) ability to infer the referent of a novel noun from a single ambiguous exposure and their ability to retain this mapping over time. Children were asked to identify the referent of a novel label on six critical trials distributed throughout the course of a 10-min study involving many familiar and novel objects. On these critical trials, images of a known object and a novel object (e.g., a ball and a nameless artifact constructed in the laboratory) appeared on two computer screens and a voice asked children to "point at the ___ [e.g., glark]." Following label onset, children were allowed only 3 s during which to infer the correct referent, point at it, and potentially store this new word-object mapping. In a final posttest trial, all previously labeled novel objects appeared and children were asked to point to one of them (e.g., "Can you find the glark?"). To succeed, children needed to have initially mapped the novel labels correctly and retained these mappings over the course of the study. Despite the difficult demands of the current task, children successfully identified the target object on the retention trial. We conclude that 2-year-olds are able to fast map novel nouns during a brief single exposure under ambiguous labeling conditions. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A