Looking in the Wrong Direction Correlates With More Accurate Word Learning
Version of Record online: 9 DEC 2010
Copyright © 2010 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 35, Issue 2, pages 367–380, March 2011
How to Cite
Fitneva, S. A. and Christiansen, M. H. (2011), Looking in the Wrong Direction Correlates With More Accurate Word Learning. Cognitive Science, 35: 367–380. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2010.01156.x
- Issue online: 10 FEB 2011
- Version of Record online: 9 DEC 2010
- Received 28 July 2009; received in revised form 14 July 2010; accepted 09 August 2010
- Word learning;
- Fast mapping;
- Initial accuracy;
- Statistical learning
Previous research on lexical development has aimed to identify the factors that enable accurate initial word-referent mappings based on the assumption that the accuracy of initial word-referent associations is critical for word learning. The present study challenges this assumption. Adult English speakers learned an artificial language within a cross-situational learning paradigm. Visual fixation data were used to assess the direction of visual attention. Participants whose longest fixations in the initial trials fell more often on distracter images performed significantly better at test than participants whose longest fixations fell more often on referent images. Thus, inaccurate initial word-referent mappings may actually benefit learning.