Toddlers link new words to whole objects

Oct 17, 2007

A U.S. psychologist says young toddlers look at whole objects rather than parts when learning new words.

George Hollich, director of Purdue University's Infant Language Lab, tested 12- and 19-month-olds to see whether they would associate a novel word with a complex two-part object or with either of that object's parts, the university said Wednesday in a release.

The study found that infants associate words with whole objects, even those that could potentially be construed as two separate objects.

For example, when introducing a young toddler to a dog, the child automatically thinks of the object as a dog. If adults want to talk about the dog's tail or its bark, then they need to be more explicit when communicating with the child.

Hollich said when labeling more than just an object, adults need to do something special such as pointing at the part while saying its word or explaining what the item does.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: MRI shows association between reading to young children and brain activity

Related Stories

Image descriptions from computers show gains

Nov 18, 2014

"Man in black shirt is playing guitar." "Man in blue wetsuit is surfing on wave." "Black and white dog jumps over bar." The picture captions were not written by humans but through software capable of accurately ...

Why dogs are the new darlings of cognitive science

May 23, 2014

This will be his earliest memory. Red light, morning light. High ceiling canted overhead. Lazy click of toenails on wood. Between the honey-colored slats of the crib a whiskery muzzle slides forward until it ...

Recommended for you

Mental disorders don't predict future violence

Apr 24, 2015

Most psychiatric disorders - including depression—do not predict future violent behavior, according to new Northwestern Medicine longitudinal study of delinquent youth. The only exception is substance abuse and dependence.

Practical applications of 'nudge' psychology

Apr 24, 2015

Following the publication of Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's persuasive book "Nudge", nudges have become a popular tool in many fields from tax collection to public health and not least among advertisers, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.