Can infants map meaning to newly segmented words? Statistical segmentation and word learning.

TitleCan infants map meaning to newly segmented words? Statistical segmentation and word learning.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsEstes KGraf, Evans JL, Alibali MW, Saffran JR
JournalPsychol Sci
Volume18
Issue3
Pagination254-60
Date Published2007 Mar
ISSN0956-7976
KeywordsAnalysis of Variance, Auditory Perception, Child Language, Comprehension, Discrimination Learning, Humans, Infant, Language, Language Development, Learning, Recognition (Psychology), Speech, Speech Discrimination Tests, Speech Perception, Time Factors, Verbal Learning, Vocabulary
Abstract

The present experiments investigated how the process of statistically segmenting words from fluent speech is linked to the process of mapping meanings to words. Seventeen-month-old infants first participated in a statistical word segmentation task, which was immediately followed by an object-label-learning task. Infants presented with labels that were words in the fluent speech used in the segmentation task were able to learn the object labels. However, infants presented with labels consisting of novel syllable sequences (nonwords; Experiment 1) or familiar sequences with low internal probabilities (part-words; Experiment 2) did not learn the labels. Thus, prior segmentation opportunities, but not mere frequency of exposure, facilitated infants' learning of object labels. This work provides the first demonstration that exposure to word forms in a statistical word segmentation task facilitates subsequent word learning.

DOI10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01885.x
Alternate JournalPsychol Sci
PubMed ID17444923
PubMed Central IDPMC3864753
Grant ListP30 HD003352 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 DC005650-07 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD037466 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P30HD03352 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01HD37466 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
F31 DC007277 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States
R01 DC005650 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States
F31-DC07277 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States