Fast Mapping Skills in the Developing Lexicon Purpose This preliminary investigation was a longitudinal study of fast mapping skills in normally developing children, 16–18 months of age. The purpose was to examine the effects of practice on the accessibility of words in lexical memory. Method Eight children were taught the names of 24 unfamiliar objects ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2007
Fast Mapping Skills in the Developing Lexicon
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lisa Gershkoff-Stowe
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Erin R. Hahn
    Furman University, Greenville, SC
  • Contact author: Lisa Gershkoff-Stowe, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, 200 South Jordan Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405. E-mail: gershkof@indiana.edu.
Article Information
Development / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2007
Fast Mapping Skills in the Developing Lexicon
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2007, Vol. 50, 682-697. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/048)
History: Received September 18, 2005 , Revised April 18, 2006 , Accepted August 11, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2007, Vol. 50, 682-697. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/048)
History: Received September 18, 2005; Revised April 18, 2006; Accepted August 11, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 42

Purpose This preliminary investigation was a longitudinal study of fast mapping skills in normally developing children, 16–18 months of age. The purpose was to examine the effects of practice on the accessibility of words in lexical memory.

Method Eight children were taught the names of 24 unfamiliar objects over 12 weekly training sessions. The amount of practice children had with individual words varied as a function of session. Data were compared to a control group of children—matched on productive vocabulary—who were exposed to the same experimental words at the first and last sessions only.

Results The results showed that for children in the experimental group, extended practice with a novel set of high-practice words led to the rapid acquisition of a second set of low-practice words. Children in the control group did not show the same lexical advantage.

Conclusions The data suggest that learning some words primes the system to learn more words. Vocabulary development can thus be conceptualized as a continual process of fine-tuning the lexical system to enable increased accessibility to information. Implications for the treatment of children with word-finding difficulties are considered.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Grant RO1-HD39424 from the National Institutes of Health to the first author. Some data were collected while both authors were at Carnegie Mellon University. Portions of these data were presented at the April 2001 biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
We thank Rachel Whipple, Veronica Sansing, Audrey Russo, and Kimberly Massengill for their help with data collection. We are also grateful to Dana Courier, Elizabeth Carafiol, and Lisa Cantrell for their coding assistance and to the parents and children who participated in the study.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access