This research seeks to understand the processes of word learning and gain an understanding of the underlying nature of language acquisition. To date, theory, research, and clinical practice have concentrated on ways to minimize difficulty in the task of word learning. However, memory and desirable difficulties theory suggest that difficulty can be a good thing2mechanisms that initially make learning hard actually promote long-term learning. This proposal seeks to apply desirable difficulties to tasks other than memory, such as real-world word learning situations. Because of the intimate relationship between memory and word learning, it is expected that more difficult learning tasks will promote children's memory for words, despite the increased difficulty. METHOD: Children will be taught novel words according to learning schedules with varying degrees of difficulty. They will be shown novel objects which will be paired with novel labels (for example, 3Look at the 5wug6!4) and later asked to recognize a novel exemplar of the object category.

Public Health Relevance

This research will inform our understanding of the mechanisms underlying word learning. These studies (1) integrate two bodies of research, word learning and adult memory research, (2) explore the relationship between word learning and memory, (3) extend beyond typical laboratory protocols and discover how word learning operates on real-world time scales, and (4) inform our greater understanding of how children learn words. The knowledge gained from this work will be invaluable to informing word learning theories and designing interventions for children that are delayed word learners. Furthermore, this research will begin to build a model of how cognitive science principles can be applied to development and suggest methods for interventions and treatments of children with language learning delays.

Public Health Relevance

These studies (1) integrate two bodies of research, word learning and adult memory research, (2) explore the relationship between word learning and memory, (3) extend beyond typical laboratory protocols and discover how word learning operates on real-world time scales, and (4) inform our greater understanding of how children learn words. The knowledge gained from this work will be invaluable to informing word learning theories and designing interventions for children that are delayed word learners. Furthermore, this research will begin to build a model of how cognitive science principles can be applied to development and suggest methods for interventions and treatments of children with language learning delays.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Type
Small Research Grants (R03)
Project #
5R03HD064909-02
Application #
8207844
Study Section
Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
Program Officer
Freund, Lisa S
Project Start
2010-12-25
Project End
2012-11-30
Budget Start
2011-12-01
Budget End
2012-11-30
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$70,568
Indirect Cost
$20,568
Name
University of California Los Angeles
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
092530369
City
Los Angeles
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
90095
Vlach, Haley A; Sandhofer, Catherine M; Bjork, Robert A (2014) Equal spacing and expanding schedules in children's categorization and generalization. J Exp Child Psychol 123:129-37