Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):200-213 (2013)

Chen Yu
NanJing University
Previous research shows that people can use the co-occurrence of words and objects in ambiguous situations (i.e., containing multiple words and objects) to learn word meanings during a brief passive training period (Yu & Smith, 2007). However, learners in the world are not completely passive but can affect how their environment is structured by moving their heads, eyes, and even objects. These actions can indicate attention to a language teacher, who may then be more likely to name the attended objects. Using a novel active learning paradigm in which learners choose which four objects they would like to see named on each successive trial, this study asks whether active learning is superior to passive learning in a cross-situational word learning context. Finding that learners perform better in active learning, we investigate the strategies and discover that most learners use immediate repetition to disambiguate pairings. Unexpectedly, we find that learners who repeat only one pair per trial—an easy way to infer this pair—perform worse than those who repeat multiple pairs per trial. Using a working memory extension to an associative model of word learning with uncertainty and familiarity biases, we investigate individual differences that correlate with these assorted strategies
Keywords Language acquisition  Temporal contiguity  Cross‐situational learning  Active learning  Statistical learning  Individual differences
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/tops.12008
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,777
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
69 ( #147,900 of 2,425,451 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #547,144 of 2,425,451 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes