Familiarity plays a small role in noun comprehension at 12-18 months.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Infants amass thousands of hours of experience with particular items, each of which is representative of a broader category that often shares perceptual features. Robust word comprehension requires generalizing known labels to new category members. While young infants have been found to look at common nouns when they are named aloud, the role of item familiarity has not been well examined. This study compares 12- to 18-month-olds' word comprehension in the context of pairs of their own items (e.g., photographs of their own shoe and ball) versus new tokens from the same category (e.g., a new shoe and ball). Our results replicate previous work showing that noun comprehension improves rapidly over the second year, while also suggesting that item familiarity appears to play a far smaller role in comprehension in this age range. This in turn suggests that even before age 2, ready generalization beyond particular experiences is an intrinsic component of lexical development.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Garrison, H; Baudet, G; Breitfeld, E; Aberman, A; Bergelson, E

Published Date

  • July 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 458 - 477

PubMed ID

  • 32744800

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7456569

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-7078

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1525-0008

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/infa.12333


  • eng