This report is based on a master's thesis completed by the first author under the direction of the second author and submitted to the Graduate School at NC State University.
Fragile But Real: Children's Capacity to Use Newly Acquired Words to Convey Preverbal Memories
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2007
Volume 78, Issue 2, pages 448–458, March/April 2007
How to Cite
Morris, G. and Baker-Ward, L. (2007), Fragile But Real: Children's Capacity to Use Newly Acquired Words to Convey Preverbal Memories. Child Development, 78: 448–458. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01008.x
Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by a Predoctoral Fellowship awarded to the first author from the Center for Developmental Science in Chapel Hill, NC (PHS Grant Number T32HD007376-17).
We thank Lauren Starnes, Kristen Parker, and Meredith Moore for their help in data collection and the children, parents, and child-care centers whose participation made this research possible. Appreciation is also extended to three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2007
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2007
There is ongoing debate about children's ability to use subsequently acquired language to describe preverbal experiences. This issue was addressed experimentally in this investigation using a novel paradigm. Two-year-old children who lacked color words were individually taught to activate a bubble machine by selecting a particular color of bubble solution. The children then participated in weekly, experimenter-provided activities that fostered their acquisition of the color labels. After 2 months, their ability to apply the newly acquired words in reporting the original event was assessed. A significant proportion of the children demonstrated verbal recall when prompted in the presence of physical reminders of the event. These findings indicate that some early, preverbal memories are translated into words at a later time.