Is a Pink Cow Still a Cow? Individual Differences in Toddlers' Vocabulary Knowledge and Lexical Representations.

TitleIs a Pink Cow Still a Cow? Individual Differences in Toddlers' Vocabulary Knowledge and Lexical Representations.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPerry LK, Saffran JR
JournalCogn Sci
Volume41
Issue4
Pagination1090-1105
Date Published2017 May
ISSN1551-6709
Abstract

When a toddler knows a word, what does she actually know? Many categories have multiple relevant properties; for example, shape and color are relevant to membership in the category banana. How do toddlers prioritize these properties when recognizing familiar words, and are there systematic differences among children? In this study, toddlers viewed pairs of objects associated with prototypical colors. On some trials, objects were typically colored (e.g., Holstein cow and pink pig); on other trials, colors were switched (e.g., pink cow and Holstein-patterned pig). On each trial, toddlers were directed to find a target object. Overall, recognition was disrupted when colors were switched, as measured by eye movements. Moreover, individual differences in vocabularies predicted recognition differences: Toddlers who say fewer shape-based words were more disrupted by color switches. "Knowing" a word may not mean the same thing for all toddlers; different toddlers prioritize different facets of familiar objects in their lexical representations.

DOI10.1111/cogs.12370
Alternate JournalCogn Sci
PubMed ID27059812
PubMed Central IDPMC5052107