Toddlers’ language-mediated visual search:
They need not have the words for it
(2010). Toddlers’ language-mediated visual search: They need not have the words for it
. Talk presented at International Conference on Cognitive Development 2010. Allahabad, India. 2010-12-10 - 2010-12-13.
Eye movements made by listeners during language-mediated visual search reveal a strong link between visual processing and conceptual processing. For example, upon hearing the word for a missing referent with a characteristic colour (e.g., “strawberry”), listeners tend to fixate a colour-matched distractor (e.g., a red plane) more than a colour-mismatched distractor (e.g., a yellow plane). We ask whether these shifts in visual attention are mediated by the retrieval of lexically stored colour labels. Do children who do not yet possess verbal labels for the colour attribute that spoken and viewed objects have in common exhibit language-mediated eye movements like those made by older children and adults? That is, do toddlers look at a red plane when hearing “strawberry”? We observed that 24-month-olds lacking colour-term knowledge nonetheless recognised the perceptual-conceptual commonality between named and seen objects. This indicates that language-mediated visual search need not depend on stored labels for concepts.