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ERIC Number: EJ1207966
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Apr
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Statistics Learned Are Statistics Forgotten: Children's Retention and Retrieval of Cross-Situational Word Learning
Vlach, Haley A.; DeBrock, Catherine A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v45 n4 p700-711 Apr 2019
Children are able to resolve the referential ambiguity of learning new words by tracking co-occurrence probabilities across moments in time, a behavior termed cross-situational word learning (CSWL). Although we know that children can use co-occurrence data to map words to objects, the literature has a striking limitation: research has focused on encoding of language and, consequently, children's CSWL has only been assessed at an immediate test. The current research addressed this gap in the literature by examining whether children can retain and retrieve learned words after a retention interval, and whether children's age and individual cognitive abilities contribute to their CSWL performance. The results revealed that children were able to retain and retrieve co-occurrence statistics, but only reliably so at the end of early childhood. Moreover, children's visual recognition memory abilities and the timing of learning events were the two key factors that contributed to children's performance. These findings have implications for theories and computational models of CSWL, and suggest that more research is needed to understand the processes that support CSWL after encoding.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin (Madison)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test; Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability
Grant or Contract Numbers: R03HD08115301