Measuring word learning performance in computational models and infants

Bergmann, C., Boves, L., & Ten Bosch, L. (2011). Measuring word learning performance in computational models and infants. In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Development and Learning, and Epigenetic Robotics. Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 24-27 Aug. 2011.
In the present paper we investigate the effect of categorising raw behavioural data or computational model responses. In addition, the effect of averaging over stimuli from potentially different populations is assessed. To this end, we replicate studies on word learning and generalisation abilities using the ACORNS models. Our results show that discrete categories may obscure interesting phenomena in the continuous responses. For example, the finding that learning in the model saturates very early at a uniform high recognition accuracy only holds for categorical representations. Additionally, a large difference in the accuracy for individual words is obscured by averaging over all stimuli. Because different words behaved differently for different speakers, we could not identify a phonetic basis for the differences. Implications and new predictions for infant behaviour are discussed.
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