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Abstract / Description of output
How do we update our linguistic knowledge? In seven experiments, we asked whether error-driven learning can explain under what circumstances adults and children are more likely to store and retain a new word meaning. Participants were exposed to novel object labels in the context of more or less constraining sentences or visual contexts. Both two-to-four-year-olds (Mage = 38 months) and adults were strongly affected by expectations based on sentence constraint when choosing the referent of a new label. In addition, adults formed stronger memory traces for novel words that violated a stronger prior expectation. However, preschoolers’ memory was unaffected by the strength of their prior expectations. We conclude that the encoding of new word-object associations in memory is affected by prediction error in adults, but not in preschoolers.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- prediction error
- mutual exclusivity
- disconfirmed predictions
- memory retention
- word learning
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