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Preschoolers fast map and retain artifact functions as efficiently as artifact names, but artifact actions are the most easily learned

Holland, AK and Hyde, G and Riggs, KJ and Simpson, A (2018) 'Preschoolers fast map and retain artifact functions as efficiently as artifact names, but artifact actions are the most easily learned.' Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 170. 57 - 71. ISSN 0022-0965

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Abstract

To become skilled artifact users, children must learn the actions and functions associated with artifacts. We investigated preschoolers’ ability to fast map an action, function and name associated with a novel artifact, and retain the new mapping long term following brief incidental exposure to the artifact being used. In Experiment 1, 3- and 5-year-olds (N = 144) were tested 1 week after two exposures to a novel action, function, and name. Participants performed well on comprehension tests of all three kinds of information. In Experiment 2, 3-year-olds (N = 100) were exposed to these three kinds of information only once. Retention of the action–artifact link was above chance levels, whereas retention of function and the name was not. Finally, in Experiment 3, 4-year-olds (N = 128) performed well on an action production task 1 week after brief exposure. In contrast, their performance on a name production task immediately after exposure was poor. Our data suggest that preschoolers can retain function information about a novel artifact from minimal exposure, similar to their ability to learn an artifact name. Crucially, their ability to remember action–artifact mappings is markedly better than their ability to remember functions and names.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fast mapping, Word learning, Actions, Functions of artifacts, Tool use, Preschool age (2–5 years)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 10:15
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2019 02:00
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21468

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