Computational Evidence That Frequency Trajectory Theory Does Not Oppose But Emerges From Age‐of‐Acquisition Theory
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Cognitive Science 36 (8):1499-1531 (2012)
According to the age-of-acquisition hypothesis, words acquired early in life are processed faster and more accurately than words acquired later. Connectionist models have begun to explore the influence of the age/order of acquisition of items (and also their frequency of encounter). This study attempts to reconcile two different methodological and theoretical approaches (proposed by Lambon Ralph & Ehsan, 2006 and Zevin & Seidenberg, 2002) to age-limited learning effects. The current simulations extend the findings reported by Zevin and Seidenberg (2002) that have shown that frequency trajectories (FTs) have limited and specific effects on word-reading tasks. Using the methodological framework proposed by Lambon Ralph and Ehsan (2006), which makes it possible to compare word-reading and picture-naming tasks in connectionist networks, we were able to show that FT has a considerable influence on age-limited learning effects in a picture naming task. The findings show that when the input–output mappings are arbitrary (simulating picture naming tasks), the links formed by the network become entrenched as a result of early experience and that subsequent variations in frequency of exposure of the items have only a minor impact. In contrast, when the mappings between input-output are quasi-systematic or systematic (simulating word-reading tasks), the training of new items was generalized and resulted in the suppression of age-limited learning effects. At a theoretical level, we suggest that FT, which simultaneously takes account of time and the level of exposure across time, represents a more precise and modulated measure compared with the order of introduction of the items and may lead to innovative hypotheses in the field of age-limited learning effects.
|Keywords||Quasi‐systematic/systematic mappings Arbitrary mappings Age of acquisition Frequency trajectory|
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