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Young children retain fast mapped object labels better than shape, color, and texture words

Holland, Amanda; Simpson, Andrew; Riggs, Kevin J.


Amanda Holland

Andrew Simpson


We compared short- and long-term retention of fast mapped color, shape and texture words as well as object labels. In an exposure session, 354 3- and 4-year-old children were shown a set of two familiar and three novel stimuli. One of the novel stimuli was labeled with a new object label, color, shape or texture word. Retention of the mapping between the new word and the novel object or property was measured either five minutes or one week later. After five minutes, retention was significantly above chance in all conditions. However, after one week only the mappings for object labels were retained above chance levels. Our findings suggest that fast mapped object labels are retained long-term better than color, shape and texture words. The results also highlight the importance of comparing short- and long-term retention when studying children’s word learning.


Holland, A., Simpson, A., & Riggs, K. J. (2015). Young children retain fast mapped object labels better than shape, color, and texture words. Journal of experimental child psychology, 134, 1-11.

Acceptance Date Jan 29, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 10, 2015
Publication Date Jun 1, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 15, 2015
Journal Journal of experimental child psychology
Print ISSN 0022-0965
Electronic ISSN 1096-0457
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 134
Pages 1-11
Keywords Word learning; Fast mapping; Long-term retention; Object bias; Shape bias; Rate of forgetting
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of experimental child psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of experimental child psychology, 2015, v.134 at


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Copyright Statement
© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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