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Children fast-map new words to their referents early on but may not show robust retention of the learning of word–object mappings until much later. This study examines whether children's interest in a natural category is associated with children's retention of newly learned labels for objects in that category. German-speaking 24-month-olds and 38-month-olds (n = 88, 41 female) were trained on novel word–object associations from different categories. Pupillary arousal and parental reports served as indices of children's interest in categories presented. Recognition and retention were tested directly after exposure, 5 min later and 24 h later. Both younger and older children showed successful word–object recognition and retention. Furthermore, interest in the category modulates young children's recognition and retention of newly learned word–object associations from semantic categories across ages.

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Journal article


Infant and Child Development

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