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Mutual exclusivity constraint versus intention inword learning: Based on Korean data

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2005, 18(1), pp.79-96
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science

Hyeon Jin Lee 1

1영남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study purposed to examine the role of mutual exclusivity constraint versus pragmatic intention in inferring the meaning of Korean words. Three experiments were conducted. Experiment 1 addressed the issue by using the pictures of artifacts. Forty eight children whose age ranges from 3;0 to 3;11(M=3;7) were equally allocated to three conditions, i. e., an unintended condition, an explicitly intended condition, and an implicitly intended condition. The results showed that the mutual exclusivity of object labels were preserved in the unintended condition, while being overridden by the pragmatic intention in the explicitly intended condition. The procedure of experiment 2 was the same as that of experiment 1, except using the pictures of animals. Forty eight children whose age ranges from 2;11 to 4;0 (M=3;7) participated. The results replicated the findings of experiment 1 with respect to the role of mutual exclusivity vs. intention in word learning. In addition, children showed the tendency of understanding the novel words as category names in the explicitly intended condition. The procedure of experiment 3 was the same as that of the previous experiments, except using the pictures of human beings. Forty eight children whose age ranges from 3;0 to 4;1 (M=3;8) participated. The results in general replicated the previous findings with respect to the role of mutual exclusivity vs. intention in word learning. In addition, children showed the tendency of understanding the novel word as a proper name in the explicitly intended condition. Summing up, the mutual exclusivity constraint could play a role in Korean word learning, but it could be overcome when being faced with the conflicted pragmatic intention. Moreover, children might treat a novel word as a proper name so as to override the mutual exclusivity of objects when they were attributed to intentionality.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.