Testing a word is not a test of word learning

Axelsson, Emma L and Horst, Jessica S (2013) Testing a word is not a test of word learning. Acta psychologica, 144 (2). pp. 264-268. ISSN 1873-6297

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Abstract

Although vocabulary acquisition requires children learn names for multiple things, many investigations of word learning mechanisms teach children the name for only one of the objects presented. This is problematic because it is unclear whether children's performance reflects recall of the correct name-object association or simply selection of the only object that was singled out by being the only object named. Children introduced to one novel name may perform at ceiling as they are not required to discriminate on the basis of the name per se, and appear to rapidly learn words following minimal exposure to a single word. We introduced children to four novel objects. For half the children, only one of the objects was named and for the other children, all four objects were named. Only children introduced to one word reliably selected the target object at test. This demonstration highlights the over-simplicity of one-word learning paradigms and the need for a shift in word learning paradigms where more than one word is taught to ensure children disambiguate objects on the basis of their names rather than their degree of salience.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2015 15:32
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 09:51
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/57253

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