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That's more like it: multiple exemplars facilitate word learning

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Infant and Child Development
Issue number2
Volume23
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)105-122
Publication statusPublished
Early online date9/10/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Previous research indicates learning words facilitates categorisation. The current study explores how categorisation affects word learning. In the current study, we investigated whether learning about a category facilitates retention of newly learned words by presenting 2-year-old children with multiple referent selection trials to the same object category. In Experiment 1, children either encountered the same exemplar repeatedly or encountered multiple exemplars across trials. All children did very well on the initial task; however, only children who encountered multiple exemplars retained these mappings after a short delay. Experiment 2 replicated and extended this finding by exploring the effect of within-category variability on children's word retention. Children encountered either narrow or broad exemplars across trials. Again, all children did very well on the initial task; however, only children who encountered narrow exemplars retained mappings after a short delay. Overall, these data offer strong evidence that providing children with the opportunity to compare across exemplars during fast mapping facilitates retention.