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Child Dev. 1988 Apr;59(2):420-9.

Lessons from television: children's word learning when viewing.

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Child Language Program, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66044.


The study investigated if preschoolers can learn novel words when viewing television and if the learning is influenced by age or type of word. 61 preschoolers, ages 3 and 5, were assigned to either an experimental or control group. They viewed a 15-min television program, featuring 20 different novel words, 5 each in the 4 categories of object, action, attribute, and affective-state words. Comprehension was tested before and after viewing. The experimental group performed better than the controls for object, action, and attribute words. 5-year-olds were more accurate than 3-year-olds and gained relatively more from the experimental condition. The easiest words to learn were object and attribute words. The results are relevant for studies of media effects and accounts of preschoolers' "fast mapping" of new words.

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