Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Young toddlers think in terms of the whole object, not just parts

Seeing through a child's eyes can help parents better introduce new words to young toddlers, according to research from Purdue University.

"This new research shows that as young toddlers learn language, they are more likely to focus on objects rather than parts," said George Hollich, an assistant professor of psychological sciences. "Because of this bias, children automatically assume you are talking about an object. So, when labeling more than just an object, adults need to do something special such as pointing at the part while saying its word or explaining what the item does."

For example, when introducing a young toddler to a dog, the child automatically thinks of the object as a dog. If adults want to talk about the dog's tail or its bark, then they need to be more explicit when communicating with the child. If adults do not make this effort, it can hinder the child's understanding, said Hollich, who also is director of Purdue's Infant Language Lab.

The study appears in the fall issue of the journal Developmental Psychology. Hollich studied 12- and 19-month-olds because their vocabularies are still in the beginning stages of development. Forty-eight children participated in the study. During the experiments, the young toddlers were introduced to familiar objects, such as a cup with a lid and a shoe with laces, as well as two made up objects that were wood cutouts and could be separated. One part of these wood cutouts was designed to be more attractive to a child. Even with the part's visual appeal, Hollich found the children paid more attention to the entire object than to the part.

"We expected that because infants are so taken by the part's salience, specifically bright colors and geometric patterns, they would fail to learn the name for a whole object and instead associate the name with the perceptually interesting and separate part," Hollich said. "But we found the opposite. This reinforces that children, even as young as 12 months old, make assumptions about what words might mean. And like all assumptions, sometimes they can be wrong."

The average vocabulary comprehension for a 12-month-old is 65-110 words, and that increases to a few thousand by the time the child is 2.

"There is a lot going on when infants and young children learn language," Hollich said. "In addition to parents emphasizing an object, its parts and its function when talking to children, parents also should reduce background noises and look at children as they speak to them."

The National Science Foundation funded this study.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723,
Source: George Hollich, (765) 494-2224,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Amy Patterson Neubert | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>