Previous research on cross-situational word learning has demonstrated that learners are able to reduce ambiguity in mapping words to referents by tracking co-occurrence probabilities across learning events. In the current experiments, we examined whether learners are able to retain mappings over time. The results revealed that learners are able to retain mappings for up to 1 week later. However, there were interactions between the amount of retention and the different learning conditions. Interestingly, the strongest retention was associated with a learning (...) condition that engendered retrieval dynamics that initially challenged the learner but eventually led to more successful retrieval toward the end of learning. The ease/difficulty of retrieval is a critical process underlying cross-situational word learning and is a powerful example of how learning dynamics affect long-term learning outcomes. (shrink)
Cross-situational statistical learning of words involves tracking co-occurrences of auditory words and objects across time to infer word-referent mappings. Previous research has demonstrated that learners can infer referents across sets of very phonologically distinct words, but it remains unknown whether learners can encode fine phonological differences during cross-situational statistical learning. This study examined learners’ cross-situational statistical learning of minimal pairs that differed on one consonant segment, minimal pairs that differed on one vowel segment, and non-minimal pairs that differed on two (...) or three segments. Learners performed above chance for all pairs, but performed worse on vowel minimal pairs than on consonant minimal pairs or non-minimal pairs. These findings demonstrate that learners can encode fine phonetic detail while tracking word-referent co-occurrence probabilities, but they suggest that phonological encoding may be weaker for vowels than for consonants. (shrink)
Cross‐situational word learning (XSWL) tasks present multiple words and candidate referents within a learning trial such that word–referent pairings can be inferred only across trials. Adults encode fine phonological detail when two words and candidate referents are presented in each learning trial (2 × 2 scenario; Escudero, Mulak, & Vlach, ). To test the relationship between XSWL task difficulty and phonological encoding, we examined XSWL of words differing by one vowel or consonant across degrees of within‐learning trial ambiguity (1 × (...) 1 to 4 × 4). Word identification was assessed alongside three distractors. Adults finely encoded words via XSWL: Learning occurred in all conditions, though accuracy decreased across the 1 × 1 to 3 × 3 conditions. Accuracy was highest for the 1 × 1 condition, suggesting fast‐mapping is a stronger learning strategy here. Accuracy was higher for consonant than vowel set targets, and having more distractors from the same set mitigated identification of vowel set targets only, suggesting possible stronger encoding of consonants than vowels. (shrink)
Machery proposes that the construct of detracts from research progress. However, ignoring development also detracts from research progress. Developmental research has advanced our understanding of how concepts are acquired and thus is essential to a complete theory. We propose a framework that both accounts for development and holds great promise as a new direction for thinking about concepts.
Children ask many questions, but do not always receive answers to the questions they ask. We were interested in whether the act of generating questions, in the absence of an answer, is related to children’s later thinking. Two experiments examined whether children retain the questions they ask in working memory, and whether the type of questions asked relate to their categorization. Four to ten-year-old children were shown 12 novel objects, asked three questions about each, and did not receive answers to (...) their questions. Children recalled their questions in the first experiment and categorized variants of the novel objects in the second experiment. We found that children have robust working memory for their questions, indicating that these questions may relate to their subsequent thinking. Additionally, children generalize category boundaries more narrowly or broadly depending on the type of question they ask, indicating that children’s questions may reflect an underlying bias in how they think about the world. These findings suggest that future research should examine questions in the absence of answers to understand how inquiry affects children’s cognitive development. (shrink)