Exploring the Robustness of Cross-Situational Learning Under Zipfian Distributions

Cognitive Science 36 (4):726-739 (2012)
Cross-situational learning has recently gained attention as a plausible candidate for the mechanism that underlies the learning of word-meaning mappings. In a recent study, Blythe and colleagues have studied how many trials are theoretically required to learn a human-sized lexicon using cross-situational learning. They show that the level of referential uncertainty exposed to learners could be relatively large. However, one of the assumptions they made in designing their mathematical model is questionable. Although they rightfully assumed that words are distributed according to Zipf's law, they applied a uniform distribution of meanings. In this article, Zipf's law is also applied to the distribution of meanings, and it is shown that under this condition, cross-situational learning can only be plausible when referential uncertainty is sufficiently small. It is concluded that cross-situational learning is a plausible learning mechanism but needs to be guided by heuristics that aid word learners with reducing referential uncertainty
Keywords Zipf's law  Lexicon learning time  Referential uncertainty  Cross‐situational learning  Word learning
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.1226.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,209
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #204,981 of 1,941,042 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #334,047 of 1,941,042 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.