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Learned labels shape pre-speech infants’ object representations

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2018
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)61-73
Early online date5/07/17
Original languageEnglish


Infants rapidly learn both linguistic and nonlinguistic representations of their
environment, and begin to link these from around six months. While there is an
increasing body of evidence for the effect of labels heard in-task on infants’ online processing, whether infants’ learned linguistic representations shape learned nonlinguistic representations is unclear. In the current study 10-month-old infants were trained over the course of a week with two 3D objects, one labeled and one unlabeled. Infants then took part in a looking time task in which 2D images of the objects were presented individually in a silent familiarization phase, followed by a preferential looking trial. During the critical familiarization phase, infants looked for longer at the previously labeled stimulus than the unlabeled stimulus, suggesting that learning a label for an object had shaped infants’ representations as indexed by looking times. We interpret these results in terms of label activation and novelty response accounts, and discuss implications for our understanding of early representational development.