Research conducted at the Northwestern University have been able to gain a glimpse of how a 12 months old child’s future vocabulary will develop through looking at their ability to group objects according to the names associated with them.
“Our findings offer one piece of the very large puzzle that is vocabulary development”
..said Ferguson, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in cognitive psychology. This is a big first step toward using these cognitive tasks to identify infants at risk for language delays.”
Researchers are looking into whether individual differences in the accuracy of 12-month-olds’ ability to link language and object categories shows any relationship with their present and future vocabulary growth. These researchers put forward and analogy to help explain the method of their study.
“Imagine you are taking your baby for a visit to the primate house at the zoo,” he said. “There are gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys in the primate house. Although all the primates look fairly similar, but we know them to be different because we refer to them by different names.”
Using this hypothetical, if the child placed all the animals in the same category even though their mother used a different name for each of them, the study indicated that there was a tendance for that child to have a less developed vocabulary.
“In our study, babies who went ahead and grouped objects together even though the researchers had labelled them with distinct names were later found to know fewer words,” Ferguson said.
A child’s acquisition of problem solving, memory, perception and language are all what make up the definition of Cognitive development, which is how children learn about the world and their surroundings. Previous studies done by Waxman and her colleagues have also shown that providing language input even prior to a child’s first word is essential in language and cognitive development and are important for strengthening these skills.
“This new finding is the first to link infants’ performance on our cognitive task to their progress in learning new words,” said Sandra Waxman, the Louis W. Menk Chair in Psychology, a professor of cognitive psychology and a faculty fellow in the University’s Institute for Policy Research.”