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Infants' use of lexical-category-to-meaning links in object individuation

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infant development, lexical access, cognition in infants

Abstract (summary)

Infants watched an experimenter retrieve a stuffed animal from an opaque box and then return it. This happened twice, consistent with either 1 animal appearing on 2 occasions or 2 identical-looking animals each appearing once. The experimenter labeled each object appearance with a different novel label. After infants retrieved 1 object from the box, their subsequent search behavior was recorded. Twenty-month-olds, but not 16-month-olds, searched significantly longer for a second object inside the box when the labels were both proper names than when they were 1 count noun followed by 1 proper name. The effect was not significant when proper names were replaced by adjectives. Twenty-month-olds' understanding of meaning distinctions among several word categories guided their object individuation.

Publication Information

Hall, D. G., Corrigall, K., Rhemtulla, M., Donegan, E., & Xu, F. (2008). Infants' use of lexical-category-to-meaning links in object individuation. Child Development, 39, 1432-1443. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01197.x


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