MPI Colloquium Prof. Larissa K. Samuelson

25 April 2023 15:45 - 17:00
Max Planck Institute
Auditorium 163
Larissa S
Professor Larissa K. Samuelson, University of East Anglia


Toward Understanding Individual Vocabulary Pathways:  Processes and Predictions in a Neural Process Model of Early Word Learning



Toddlers vary widely in the rate at which they develop vocabulary. This variation predicts later language development and school success at the group level; however, we cannot determine which children with slower vocabulary development in the second year will continue to have difficulty. In this talk I will review work towards understanding individual children’s unique vocabulary development pathways using a neural process model of early word learning. I will present our model, WOLVES (Word Object Learning via Visual Exploration in Space; Bhat, Spencer & Samuelson, 2022). I will show how WOLVES captures a wide range of word learning data and makes testable predictions related to theoretical controversies in the field. I will then show how four key parameters in WOLVES explain learning and development in early word learning. Finally, I will show how we are moving towards understanding of individual vocabulary pathways via model simulations manipulating these parameters to make predictions about individual differences in early word learning. The long-term goal of this work is to understand how individual children’s strengths and weaknesses create unique vocabulary pathways that enable us to predict outcomes and identify effective interventions.


If you would like to meet with Larissa Samuelson please contact Sergio-Miguel.Pereira-Soares [at]


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