Semantic Specificity in One-Year-Olds' Word Comprehension.

Journal Article

The present study investigated infants' knowledge about familiar nouns. Infants (n = 46, 12-20-month-olds) saw two-image displays of familiar objects, or one familiar and one novel object. Infants heard either a matching word (e.g. "foot' when seeing foot and juice), a related word (e.g. "sock" when seeing foot and juice) or a nonce word (e.g. "fep" when seeing a novel object and dog). Across the whole sample, infants reliably fixated the referent on matching and nonce trials. On the critical related trials we found increasingly less looking to the incorrect (but related) image with age. These results suggest that one-year-olds look at familiar objects both when they hear them labeled and when they hear related labels, to similar degrees, but over the second year increasingly rely on semantic fit. We suggest that infants' initial semantic representations are imprecise, and continue to sharpen over the second postnatal year.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bergelson, E; Aslin, R

Published Date

  • January 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 481 - 501

PubMed ID

  • 29200981

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1547-3341

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1547-5441

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15475441.2017.1324308


  • eng