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Do children find it easier to learn verb meanings for ‘punctual / change-of-location’ actions than for non-causative events?

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten, Imai, Mutsumi, Durrant, S (2011) Do children find it easier to learn verb meanings for ‘punctual / change-of-location’ actions than for non-causative events? In: 12th International Congress for the Study of Child Language, 19th - 23rd July, 2011, Montreal, Canada. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

Three-year-olds have been found to mistakenly map a new verb onto a novel object despite hearing the verb in a transitive sentence (Imai et al., 2008). Five-year-old English-speaking children, however, pointed above chance to the correct ‘same action-different-object’ clip. However, the actions used in Imai et al.’s studies were not prototypically causative as the object was not affected by the action. In each of the current studies, in one condition we replicated the ‘continuous action’ clips used in Imai’s study (= replication condition). In the other condition we used actions which were prototypically causative, in being punctual actions involving a change of location to the object (= punctual condition). We hypothesised that the children would point correctly more often with the ‘prototypical’ punctual action than in the replication condition. The reverse was the case. Study 1 found that English 5-year-olds pointed correctly significantly more often in the replication than in the punctual condition; in the latter they pointed at chance. Study 2 found that performance did not improve when we removed the first segment of the actions (in which the actor stood holding the object prior to acting). Study 3 found that 5-year-olds pointed at chance even in the replication condition if a few minutes intervened between the learning and test episodes. We conclude that the perceptual nature of the punctual event makes it difficult even for 5-year-olds to process and map the verb, which in turn suggests that temporal duration and repetition may influence the ease of verb learning.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Poster)
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2015 09:17 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:12 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48942 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abbot-Smith, Kirsten: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8623-0664
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