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Research shows toddlers consider the source when learning words

Melissa KoenigMelissa Koenig, assistant professor at the Institute of Child Development, recently found that 24-month-olds are sensitive to a source's history of inaccuracy when learning new words. Infants treat prior inaccuracy as a feature of the source, as evidenced by their unsystematic responses to a second speaker who used words previously taught by the inaccurate speaker. The new word-object links also proved to be relatively fragile. This research contributes to an exciting and rapidly growing literature on children's selective learning in early childhood, and sheds new light on the social mechanisms supporting young children's language acquisition. These experiments were conducted in collaboration with Amanda Woodward at the University of Chicago and published in a recent issue of Developmental Psychology. Visit the Koenig Lab website to learn more about the research they are currently conducting.

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