The Type, but Not the Amount, of Information Available Influences Toddlers' Fast Mapping and Retention of New Words Purpose The authors of this study examined whether the type and number of word-learning cues affect how children infer and retain word-meaning mappings and whether the use of these cues changes with age. Method Forty-eight 18- to 36-month-old children with typical language participated in a fast-mapping task in which ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 2014
The Type, but Not the Amount, of Information Available Influences Toddlers' Fast Mapping and Retention of New Words
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathryn W. Brady
    Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Judith C. Goodman
    University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Kathryn W. Brady: kabrady@siue.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Associate Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 2014
The Type, but Not the Amount, of Information Available Influences Toddlers' Fast Mapping and Retention of New Words
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2014, Vol. 23, 120-133. doi:10.1044/2013_AJSLP-13-0013
History: Received February 11, 2013 , Revised July 18, 2013 , Accepted October 31, 2013
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2014, Vol. 23, 120-133. doi:10.1044/2013_AJSLP-13-0013
History: Received February 11, 2013; Revised July 18, 2013; Accepted October 31, 2013
Acknowledgments
This research represents the first author's doctoral dissertation in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Missouri. This research was supported in part by a Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Acquisition awarded to the first author by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. We thank research assistants Rachel Harness, Jenna Meyer, and Kara Oberkrom for their conscientious and enthusiastic work on this project in the University of Missouri Child Language Lab; Brent and Leanna Lawrence for their help constructing the equipment used in the study; and the children and parents who generously gave their time to participate.

Purpose The authors of this study examined whether the type and number of word-learning cues affect how children infer and retain word-meaning mappings and whether the use of these cues changes with age.

Method Forty-eight 18- to 36-month-old children with typical language participated in a fast-mapping task in which 6 novel words were presented with 3 types of cues to the words' referents, either singly or in pairs. One day later, children were tested for retention of the novel words.

Results By 24 months of age, children correctly inferred the referents of the novel words at a significant level. Children retained the meanings of words at a significant rate by 30 months of age. Children retained the first 3 of the 6 word-meaning mappings by 24 months of age. For both fast mapping and retention, the efficacy of different cue types changed with development, but children were equally successful whether the novel words were presented with 1 or 2 cues.

Conclusion The type of information available to children at fast mapping affects their ability to both form and retain word-meaning associations. Providing children with more information in the form of paired cues had no effect on either fast mapping or retention.

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