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    Concept-based word learning in human infants

    Yin, J. and Csibra, Gergely (2015) Concept-based word learning in human infants. Psychological Science 26 (8), pp. 1316-1324. ISSN 0956-7976.

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    Whether infants initially learn object labels by mapping them onto similarity-defining perceptual features or onto concepts of object kinds remains under debate. We addressed this question by attempting to teach infants words for behaviorally defined action roles. In a series of experiments, we found that 14-month-olds could rapidly learn a label for the role played by the chaser in a chasing scenario, even when the different instances of chasers did not share perceptual features. Furthermore, when infants could choose, they preferred to interpret a novel label as expressing the agent’s role within the observed interaction rather than as being associated with the agent’s appearance. These results demonstrate that infants can learn labels as easily (or even more easily) for concepts identified by abstract behavioral characteristics as for objects identified by perceptual features. Thus, at early stages of word learning, infants already expect that novel words express concepts.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): word learning, concepts, object kinds, perceptual similarity, chasing action, open data, open materials
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Gergo Csibra
    Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 10:51
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:18


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