A Mutually Facilitative Relationship Between Learning Names And Learning Concepts In Preschool Children: The Case Of Artifacts

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Journal Of Cognition And Development


Two studies investigated the relationship between learning names and learning concepts in preschool children. More specifically, we focused on the relationship between learning the names and learning the intended functions of artifacts, given that the intended function of an artifact is generally thought to constitute core conceptual information about an artifact's category. We asked whether learning the intended function of a novel artifact facilitates retention of its name and whether learning the name of a novel artifact prompts the search for information about its intended function. In Experiment 1, 3- and 4-year-old children better retained the names of novel artifacts when the intended functions of these artifacts were revealed. The comparison condition involved providing perceptually relevant and conceptually irrelevant information about the objects. In Experiment 2, 4-year-old children who were provided with the names of novel artifacts were more likely to seek out information about the objects' functions than children provided with conceptually irrelevant information about the artifacts. Together, the studies demonstrate the intimate and mutually facilitative relationship between names and concepts in young children.

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