Title

Explicit and Implicit Memory Representations in Cross-Situational Word Learning

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-16-2020

Publication Title

Cognition

Volume

205

First page number:

1

Last page number:

11

Abstract

What kind of memory representations do word learners use when they learn the meaning of words cross-situationally? This study leverages the measure of the relationship between confidence and performance to explore the nature of memory representations in word learning. In the recognition memory literature, studies have shown that explicit memory can be used when subjects can semantically encode the study material. However, when the study material is chosen to be unverbalizable, implicit memory is used but is presumed to be only detectable under certain experimental conditions. In the current paper, five cross-situational word learning experiments manipulated the type of word referents with varying experimental paradigms that were designed to probe different types of memory under an implicit learning paradigm. When word referents were line drawings of familiar concepts, memory in cross situational learning was explicit. Implicit memory was found where referents were objects that cannot be encoded semantically (e.g., unverbalizable images). These findings have implications for different theoretical perspectives on early word learning, which differ in the extent to which existing semantic category information, as opposed to perceptual information, contributes to the word meaning process.

Keywords

Word Learning; Explicit Memory; Implicit Memory

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Language

English

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