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Adult “fast mapping” memory research has misinterpreted developmental word learning data

O'Connor, Richard; Riggs, Kevin

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Abstract

‘Fast mapping’ is often used to refer to children’s remarkable ability to learn the meanings of new words under minimal exposure conditions, in ambiguous contexts. While it is one thing to claim that children are capable of learning words this way, it is another to claim that this ability relies on a specific fast mapping neurocognitive mechanism that is critical for early word learning. Yet that claim has recently been made in adult memory research, and has been used as a theoretical justification for research into an adult fast mapping mechanism. In this review, we explain why the existence of such a mechanism in children is not supported by developmental research and explore the implications for adult fast mapping data and research.

Journal Article Type Review
Print ISSN 0963-7214
Publisher Association for Psychological Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Institution Citation O'Connor, R., & Riggs, K. (in press). Adult “fast mapping” memory research has misinterpreted developmental word learning data. Current directions in psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society,
Keywords Word learning; Fast mapping; Hippocampus

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