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Parallels between action-object mapping and word-object mapping in young children

Riggs, Kevin J.; Mather, Emily; Hyde, Grace; Simpson, Andrew


Grace Hyde

Andrew Simpson


© 2016 Cognitive Science Society, Inc. Across a series of four experiments with 3- to 4-year-olds we demonstrate how cognitive mechanisms supporting noun learning extend to the mapping of actions to objects. In Experiment 1 (n = 61) the demonstration of a novel action led children to select a novel, rather than a familiar object. In Experiment 2 (n = 78) children exhibited long-term retention of novel action-object mappings and extended these actions to other category members. In Experiment 3 (n = 60) we showed that children formed an accurate sensorimotor record of the novel action. In Experiment 4 (n = 54) we demonstrate limits on the types of actions mapped to novel objects. Overall these data suggest that certain aspects of noun mapping share common processing with action mapping and support a domain-general account of word learning.


Riggs, K. J., Mather, E., Hyde, G., & Simpson, A. (2016). Parallels between action-object mapping and word-object mapping in young children. Cognitive science, 40(4), 992-1006.

Acceptance Date Mar 27, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 25, 2015
Publication Date 2016-05
Deposit Date Apr 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 25, 2015
Journal Cognitive science
Print ISSN 0364-0213
Electronic ISSN 1551-6709
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 4
Pages 992-1006
Keywords Fast mapping; Actions; Language; Word learning
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Riggs, K. J., Mather, E., Hyde, G. and Simpson, A. (2016), Parallels Between Action-Object Mapping and Word-Object Mapping in Young Children. Cognitive Science, 40: 992–1006. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12262, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.


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