Research Topic

Grounding Word Learning in Attention, Perception, and Memory

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About this Research Topic

Word learning has been described as one of children’s greatest developmental feats and is central to cognition, communication, socialization, and the transmission of cultural values and traditions. Despite the importance of language learning across domains of development, how children learn words is still a ...

Word learning has been described as one of children’s greatest developmental feats and is central to cognition, communication, socialization, and the transmission of cultural values and traditions. Despite the importance of language learning across domains of development, how children learn words is still a puzzle. Historically, word learning has been described as an extremely difficult problem that requires pre-existing structures. Consequently, research has focused on identifying maturational constraints rather than providing a mechanistic account of how word learning develops over time.

This Frontiers Research Topic takes a mechanistic and developmental approach to word and category learning. In this collection of papers, word learning is grounded in basic cognitive processes (i.e., attention, perception, and memory). Taken together, these papers will support the argument that pre-existing structures and constraints are not necessary for word learning. Instead, basic cognitive processes interact over time to facilitate word learning. These papers will discuss developmental changes across both short time scales (e.g. cross-situational learning) and longer time scales (e.g. longitudinal trajectories of learning).

We welcome researchers to submit papers that demonstrate how mechanisms of attention, perception, and/or memory operate in word and category learning. Although the papers will focus on behavioral research with infants and children, we also welcome papers that discuss behavioral research with adults and/or computational models.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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