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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7316

Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Cross-situational learning: An experimental study of word-learning mechanisms
Author(s): Smith, Kenny
Smith, Andrew D M
Blythe, Richard
Contact Email: andrew.smith@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Word learning
Cross-situational learning
Associative learning
Issue Date: Apr-2011
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Citation: Smith K, Smith ADM & Blythe R (2011) Cross-situational learning: An experimental study of word-learning mechanisms, Cognitive Science, 35 (3), pp. 480-498.
Abstract: Cross-situational learning is a mechanism for learning the meaning of words across multiple exposures, despite exposure-by-exposure uncertainty as to the word's true meaning. We present experimental evidence showing that humans learn words effectively using cross-situational learning, even at high levels of referential uncertainty. Both overall success rates and the time taken to learn words are affected by the degree of referential uncertainty, with greater referential uncertainty leading to less reliable, slower learning. Words are also learned less successfully and more slowly if they are presented interleaved with occurrences of other words, although this effect is relatively weak. We present additional analyses of participants' trial-by-trial behavior showing that participants make use of various cross-situational learning strategies, depending on the difficulty of the word-learning task. When referential uncertainty is low, participants generally apply a rigorous eliminative approach to cross-situational learning. When referential uncertainty is high, or exposures to different words are interleaved, participants apply a frequentist approximation to this eliminative approach. We further suggest that these two ways of exploiting cross-situational information reside on a continuum of learning strategies, underpinned by a single simple associative learning mechanism.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7316
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2010.01158.x
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: University of Edinburgh
English Studies
University of Edinburgh

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