Visual variability affects early verb learning

Twomey, Katherine and Lush, Lauren and Pearce, Ruth and Horst, Jessica (2014) Visual variability affects early verb learning. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 32 (3). pp. 359-366. ISSN 0261-510X

PDF (Twomey, Lush, Pearce & Horst, 2014)
Twomey_Lush_Pearce_Horst_2014.pdf - Published Version

Download (244kB)


Research demonstrates that within-category visual variability facilitates noun learning; however, the effect of visual variability on verb learning is unknown. We habituated 24-month-old children to a novel verb paired with an animated star-shaped actor. Across multiple trials, children saw either a single action from an action category (identical actions condition, for example, travelling while repeatedly changing into a circle shape) or multiple actions from that action category (variable actions condition, for example, travelling while changing into a circle shape, then a square shape, then a triangle shape). Four test trials followed habituation. One paired the habituated verb with a new action from the habituated category (e.g., ‘dacking’ + pentagon shape) and one with a completely novel action (e.g., ‘dacking’ + leg movement). The others paired a new verb with a new same-category action (e.g., ‘keefing’ + pentagon shape), or a completely novel category action (e.g., ‘keefing’ + leg movement). Although all children discriminated novel verb/action pairs, children in the identical actions condition discriminated trials that included the completely novel verb, while children in the variable actions condition discriminated the out-of-category action. These data suggest that – as in noun learning – visual variability affects verb learning and children's ability to form action categories.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
06 Oct 2014 12:10
Last Modified:
23 Aug 2022 00:17