Keep it simple: Accelerating the verb learning process

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2007-05-03

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For early word learners, verbs are more difficult to learn than nouns. Previous research suggests that a simple agent of an action facilitates verb learning. The present investigation was designed to replicate this finding with real-world stimuli. Twenty-four 18-month-old English-learning children participated in one of two conditions. Children either saw a block (simple agent) or a woman (complex agent) perform a novel action named simultaneously as the action occurred. All children were tested in the Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm to determine whether they learned the verb. Verb learning was not achieved in either condition; the results indicate that the block did not provide a verb learning advantage at this age. Limitations of the present study and suggestions for future research have been highlighted.

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