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Cognition. 2013 Jun;127(3):307-17. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.01.010. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Slow mapping: color word learning as a gradual inductive process.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, 0109, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, United States. kgwagner@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Most current accounts of color word acquisition propose that the delay between children's first production of color words and adult-like understanding is due to problems abstracting color as a domain of meaning. Here we present evidence against this hypothesis, and show that, from the time children produce color words in a labeling task they use them to represent color. In Experiment 1, an analysis of early color word errors finds that, before acquiring adult-like understanding, children make systematic hypotheses about color word meanings, which are best characterized as overextensions of adult meanings. Using a comprehension task, Experiment 2 finds that these overextensions are due to overly broad color categories, rather than a communicative strategy. These results indicate that the delay between production and adult-like understanding of color words is not due to difficulties abstracting color, but is largely attributable to the problem of determining the color boundaries marked by specific languages.

PMID:
23542408
DOI:
10.1016/j.cognition.2013.01.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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