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The concept of animacy versus the object bias principle in 18-month-olds' word learning

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The concept of animacy versus the object bias principle in 18-month-olds' word learning

Katerelos, Marina (2000) The concept of animacy versus the object bias principle in 18-month-olds' word learning. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Researchers have postulated word-learning biases to explain infants' effortless acquisition of object words. One such bias, the whole object assumption, helps infants acquire new words by narrowing the referent of a novel label to an entire object, rather than to actions, spatial relations or parts of that object (Woodward & Markman, 1998). This object bias is surprising given that motion is particularly salient to young infants (Poulin-Dubois, 1999). The main objective of the present experiment was to determine whether the whole object assumption could be overridden when a novel label is presented in the context of a novel object displaying an animate or an inanimate motion. To address this issue, 18-month-old infants were presented with an animate object, engaged in an animate motion and an inanimate object engaged in an inanimate motion. A novel label was paired with each of these events. On test trials, infants were simultaneously presented with the event originally paired with the target label and the event paired with the other label. In the generalization trials, the original pairings presented in the training phase were switched, such that infants saw the animate object performing the inanimate motion and the inanimate object performing the animate motion. The results of the present study revealed that as a group, 18-month-old infants were unable to learn a label for an object in motion. The current results are discussed in the context of the recent word learning literature

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Katerelos, Marina
Pagination:vii, 78 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2000
Thesis Supervisor(s):Poulin-Dubois, Diane
ID Code:1146
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:17
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:18
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