Moving beyond perceptually focused word learning strategies

Snape, Simon Oliver (2016). Moving beyond perceptually focused word learning strategies. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The current thesis aimed to explore potential contributing factors to the difficulty that young children may experience with moving past previously effective word learning strategies. The particular focus of this thesis was how children overcome an early tendency to focus on perceptual features as their basis for word meaning and the potentially greater difficulty that children may experience with linking words to relational concepts. These aims were explored through a series of experiments that looked at 2- to 5-year-olds’ extensions of words (e.g. nouns, noun-noun compounds, verbs). Findings suggest: that children’s difficulty with correctly attributing meaning to words which are primarily defined by relations is truly due to their relational nature and not their dynamic nature; that children’s tendency to base word meanings on relations can be increased by explicitly highlighting the relation; that comparisons across more than one exemplars can help children attribute verb meaning to actions alone instead of an object-action combination; that inhibition ability may be a contributing factor in children’s ability to overcome their focus on perceptual features when understanding word meaning; and that children with autism spectrum disorders may not make use of some processes that typically developing children employ to move beyond basing word meaning on shared perceptual features.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics


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