The everyday statistics of objects and their names: How word learning gets its start

AbstractA key question in early word learning is how infants learn their first object names despite a natural environment thought to provide messy data for linking object names to their referents. Using head cameras worn by 7 to 11-month-old infants in the home, we document the statistics of visual objects, spoken object names, and their co-occurrence in everyday meal time events. We show that the extremely right skewed frequency distribution of visual objects underlies word-referent co-occurrence statistics that set up a clear signal in the noise upon which infants could capitalize to learn their first object names.

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