Learned labels shape pre-speech infants’ object representations

Twomey, Katherine Elizabeth and Westermann, Gert (2018) Learned labels shape pre-speech infants’ object representations. Infancy, 23 (1). pp. 61-73. ISSN 1525-0008

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Infants rapidly learn both linguistic and nonlinguistic representations of their environment and begin to link these from around 6 months. While there is an increasing body of evidence for the effect of labels heard in-task on infants' online processing, whether infants' learned linguistic representations shape learned nonlinguistic representations is unclear. In this study 10-month-old infants were trained over the course of a week with two 3D objects, one labeled, and one unlabeled. Infants then took part in a looking time task in which 2D images of the objects were presented individually in a silent familiarization phase, followed by a preferential looking trial. During the critical familiarization phase, infants looked for longer at the previously labeled stimulus than the unlabeled stimulus, suggesting that learning a label for an object had shaped infants' representations as indexed by looking times. We interpret these results in terms of label activation and novelty response accounts and discuss implications for our understanding of early representational development.

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31 May 2017 15:22
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 04:42