Grouping of Named Objects Could Predict Infants’ Vocabulary Skills An infant’s ability to group objects based on name (instead of appearance alone) could indicate accelerated vocabulary development, new research from Northwestern University finds. Offering a specific look into language development, Brock Ferguson and Sandra R. Waxman of Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Mélanie Havy of the ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   November 01, 2015
Grouping of Named Objects Could Predict Infants’ Vocabulary Skills
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Development / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Professional Issues & Training / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   November 01, 2015
Grouping of Named Objects Could Predict Infants’ Vocabulary Skills
The ASHA Leader, November 2015, Vol. 20, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.20112015.12
The ASHA Leader, November 2015, Vol. 20, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.20112015.12
An infant’s ability to group objects based on name (instead of appearance alone) could indicate accelerated vocabulary development, new research from Northwestern University finds.
Offering a specific look into language development, Brock Ferguson and Sandra R. Waxman of Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Mélanie Havy of the University of Geneva in Switzerland studied how 12-month-olds’ precision in linking categories of both language and objects affected current and future vocabulary skills.
To explain the study, Ferguson offers an analogy of a mother taking her baby to the zoo. “There are gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys in the primate house. Although all the primates look fairly similar, we know them to be different because we refer to them by different names,” he says.
If the baby thinks all of the primates are in the same category because of the way they look, despite different names used by the mom, the team’s findings suggest the infant would be more likely to have a less-developed vocabulary than an infant who is able to make the distinction more precisely.
The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, studied two dozen 12-month-old infants who were asked to group objects based on distinct labels given to them by the researchers; they were re-evaluated at 18 months.
“Babies who … grouped objects together even though the researchers had labeled them with distinct names were later found to know fewer words,” Ferguson says.
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November 2015
Volume 20, Issue 11