AAC: Infant's Interpretations of Different Forms of Symbolic Reference

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AAC: Infant's Interpretations of Different Forms of Symbolic Reference by Mind Map: AAC: Infant's Interpretations of Different Forms of Symbolic Reference

1. Introduction

1.1. Section 1: Introduction, Rationale

1.1.1. Sentences of Note: "Early in development, infants begin to use symbols to refer to objects, actions, and events in the world." A. "Early in development" is not a particularly precise stage of development. "Language learning requires more complex abilities than learning a simple symbol-to-referent mapping". Symbolic comparison is not innately more complicated than linguistic comparison. "distinction between language acquisition and symbol development is less clear at the point when infants start to produce words." Next: "Infant's initial strides in word acquisition involve predominantly learning to make word-to-referent mappings." Furthermore, "...early word acquisition focuses on the symbolic nature of words." "A review of RECENT LITERATURE (?) leads us to consider the possibility that early word acquisition is a function of a general symbolic ability, implying that infants would learn words and other symbolic forms with equal facility at the onset of word acquisition." Sentence preceding this: "Much of the literature on early word-learning has made the assumption that the processes underlying word acquisition are unique to words from the onset of acquisition." (then, throws in a list of citations).

1.1.2. "Goal of the Study" "To examine extent to which infants distinguish between words and other types of symbols, and how the distinction between word-learning and other symbolic behaviors might change with development."

1.2. Section 2: Work of his Peers

1.2.1. Acredolo and Goodwyn Goal/Hypothesis To "assess directly the relation between word-learning and other symbolic communication at the onset of productive language." Subjects Participants ranging from 11 to 24 Months of Age. Methods Methods were not discussed... Results Over 85% of infants used symbolic gestures (as well as words) to label, request and express an intention to retrieve or search for objects.

1.2.2. Iverson, Capirici and Caselli Findings At 16 months, infants used both words and symbolic gestures to name objects. At 20 months, infants ceased to use symbolic gestures as names for object categories. "Over time, word learning diverges from symbol use more generally. Words take on a privileged status in the infant's communicative repertoire.

1.3. Section 3: Hypothesis, Explanation

1.3.1. "Hypothesis" "An early, general ability to learn symbols gives rise to a more unique focus on words, later in development." "Younger infants will be equally likely to learn words and gestures as names for object categories, but older infants will be more likely to interpret words than gestures as names for object categories."

1.3.2. "Subjects" Two Age Groups "18-month-olds: who are still in the single-word utterance stage and still use symbolic gestures." 26-month-olds: have begun to combine words and for whom the the use the use of symbolic gestures has declined.

1.3.3. "Method" "Forced-Choice Categorization" Two Subordinate Level Categories introduced to Children. Infants assigned to one of three groups: Infants then asked to choose between an additional category member (eg. a pair) and an unrelated distractor (eg. a chair) as a match for one of the target objects. The Determinant Questions:

2. Problem Themes

2.1. 1. Lack of Clarity:

2.1.1. Author uses terms that are not operationally defined; uses factual sentence structure when referring to something which is not innately true.

2.2. 2. Poor Structure:

2.2.1. Author seems to have structured sections of this article illogically. Most articles of substance use the following construction: INTRO TO SUBJECT -> THOUGHTS OF FIELD -> YOUR THOUGHTS/HYPOTHESIS. This skips between all three in a method which makes overall comprehension of this piece quite difficult.

2.3. 3. Lack of Citation:

2.3.1. Author makes claims to certain things, but does not cite the sources of those claims.

2.4. 4. Control Problems

2.4.1. The control condition is relatively vague. It isn't controlling for anything.

2.5. 5. Procedure Problems

2.5.1. This is not a proper test. A proper test is comparing two things, a "Yes" and a "No". This is comparing three things: a "yes", a "also yes", and a "no". You can't make legitimate conclusions with this test.

3. Assorted Notes

3.1. Problems with Subjects

4. Method:

4.1. Experiment 1

4.1.1. Subjects 48 children of 18 months (M age = 17.9, range = 16.8-18.6) Only included infants who were not yet combining words (parental report). 48 Children of 26 months (M = 25.9, range = 25.1 - 26.7) Only included infants who had begun to combine words.

4.1.2. Stimuli 26 Plastic Toy Replicas of Objects. Two sets of 13. Each set had: One item was presented as the "target stimuli". Then, each similar stimuli was paired with one that was not similar. Two of the similar items were designated as "near" (very similar to the target item), two were designated as "intermediate", and two were "far". Allows for a more in-depth analysis of infant's patterns of extension.

4.1.3. Procedure Constants: 1. Playroom 2. Positioning (sat directly across experimentor) 3. Caregivers asked not to help at all. 4. Infants randomly assigned to each test group. Phases 1. Warm-Up Phase 2. Introduction Phase 3. Test Phase

4.1.4. Coding Three possible outcomes on each trial: 1. Selecting the correct category member. 2. Selecting the distractor. 3. Making no clear choice. Coding agreement, in accordance to the Kappa Statistic, is extremely high: (k=.9575, p < 0.001)

4.1.5. Results (1) Infants in the "word" condition were more likely to select category members than those in either the "Gestural" or "No Symbol" categories. This trend was observed in both 18 and 26-Month olds. However, there is a clear difference in performance with regards to age. (2) 26-Month Olds were more likely to select the category members on mapping trials than extension trials. There was no effect of trial type on 18-month-old infants' performance in any condition. (3) 18-month-olds performed better on the fruit than on the vehicle category. There was no effect on 26-year-olds on target category. (4) Infants were most likely to select category members when they were perceptually more similar to the target. (5) Infants of 18 Months in the upper third of correct answers did not differ between the two conditions. But 26 Months the number of infants in the upper third did differ, higher mean rates of category responded in the word category - the result of consistent differences.

4.1.6. Discussion 1. 18 Months would apply novel symbols to object categories in both Word and Gesturial. 2. 26 Months would do so in the word, but not the gesturial. This is striking - older infants fail to reveal a symbolic capacity to learn gestures while younger infants succeed. 1. The older infants' failure to interpret gestures as names for object categories may be related to the fact that the gestures were embedded within a spoken language. 2. Infants may become more conservative, with age and experience, about what types of symbols that they will take to refer to objects.

4.2. Experiment 2

4.2.1. Introduction Goal: "To teach 2-year olds that a Gesture, like a word, may be used to name an object." Methodology: "Symbols introduced within the context of a familiar naming routine." A puppet used to identify objects using either a Word, Gesture or a simple point. Reasoning: 1. Permits us to remove the symbols from a sentence frame. 2. Because gestures are embedded in a familiar naming routine, this method may encourage the infants to overcome their conservative stance with respect to gestures.

4.2.2. Method Participants: 36 27-month-old infants recruited from the same population used in Experiment 1. Stimuli: 26 Toy Replicas of objects. Puppet (Charlie the Cricket), stuffed animal sewn to the back of a glove. Ideally suited to perform any gesture that can be performed by a human hand. Procedure Constants: Assignment: Phases Warm-Up Period: Introduction Phase: