Linguistic cued attention in children: Words organize attention to shape in a visual search task

Abstract

By one account of early word learning, children become proficient word learners as a result of environmental regularities: Learning words tunes the child to the regularities offered by the language being learned, orienting attention to those regularities. We test one core claim of this account, that count nouns should cue attention to the shape of the objects. Using a visual search task we present evidence that hearing the name of the object narrows children’s attention to the objects in the array that have the same shape. Future steps and the implications of these results are discussed.


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