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The role of competition in word learning via referent selection
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 18:40 authored by Jessica HorstJessica Horst, Emilly J Scott, Jessica A Pollard
Previous research suggests that competition among the objects present during referent selection influences young children’s ability to learn words in fast mapping tasks. The present study systematically explored this issue with 30-month-old children. Children first received referent selection trials with a target object and either two, three or four competitor objects. Then, after a short delay, children were tested on their ability to retain the newly fast-mapped names. Overall, the number of competitors did not affect children’s ability to form the initial name–object mappings. However, only children who encountered few competitors during referent selection demonstrated significant levels of retention. Results and implications are discussed in terms of the role of competition in studies of children’s fast mapping. The relationship between referent selection and full word learning is also discussed.
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