Environmental effects on parental gesture and infant word learning

Cheung, Rachael W and Hartley, Calum and Monaghan, Padraic (2019) Environmental effects on parental gesture and infant word learning. In: Proceedings of the 41st Cognitive Science Society Conference, 2019-07-242019-07-27, Palais des Congrès de Montréal.

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How infants determine correct word-referent pairings within complex environments is not yet fully understood. The combination of multiple cues, including gestures, may guide learning as part of a communicative exchange between parent and child. Gesture use and word learning are interlinked, with early child gesture predicting later vocabulary size, and parental gesture predicting child gesture. However, the extent to which parents alter gesture cues during word learning according to referential uncertainty is not known. In this study, we manipulated the number of potential referents across conditions during a word learning task with 18–24-month-olds, and explored how changes in parental gesture use translated into infant word learning. We demonstrate that parents alter their gesture use according to the presence, but not the degree, of referential uncertainty. We further demonstrate that a degree of variability in the number of potential referents appears to benefit word learning.

Item Type: Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the 41st Cognitive Science Society Conference
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 133720
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 22 Jun 2019 09:47
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 00:50
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/133720

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