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How Perceived Emotions Infuence Toddlers' Word Learning

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Poster

Publication date6/09/2018
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background Early word learning occurs on a background of rich environmental variability. Research indicates that infants can rapidly map words to objects and retain these mappings across repeated exposures (Carey, 1978; Smith & Yu, 2008). Aspects of the learning environment, for example visual variability, are reported to affect this ability (e.g., Axelsson & Horst, 2014; Twomey, Ma, & Westermann, 2017); importantly, nonetheless, infants also perceive social cues such as the emotional display of speakers when they learn new words (Tomasello, 2001). Evidence indicates that both emotionally positive and negative vocalisations facilitate infants’ recognition of words (e.g., Singh, Morgan, & White, 2004). However, how perceived emotions influence infants’ longer-term learning of word-object associations remains unknown.Hypotheses Based on research showing that negative emotions (e.g. fear, anger) attract more attention from infants over 7 months old (Hoehl, 2014), we assume better retention for objects labelled in a disgusted manner compared to the neutral and positive ones.