Attentional Control and Early Word Learning


There has been increasing interest in the role of early attention in the context of word learning. There has also been growing interest in attentional differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. The present study examined the relationship between mutual exclusivity and attentional control by comparing bilingual children whose attentional control is relatively advanced to age-matched monolingual children. The novel adjective learning paradigm was the word-learning measure and the Attention Network Test was the measure of attentional control. Three-year-old monolingual and bilingual children with similar vocabulary development participated. The results replicate earlier work on advanced attentional control among bilingual children and suggest that better performances in novel adjective learning by bilingual children might be due to attentional control. These findings support the importance of attention in early word mapping. The results add to a growing body of literature on the potential relevance of bilingualism in early word learning.

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