Find Your Manners: How Do Infants Detect the Invariant Manner of Motion in Dynamic Events?

ArticleinChild Development 83(3):977-91 · February 2012with76 Reads
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01737.x · Source: PubMed
Abstract
To learn motion verbs, infants must be sensitive to the specific event features lexicalized in their language. One event feature important for the acquisition of English motion verbs is the manner of motion. This article examines when and how infants detect manners of motion across variations in the figure's path. Experiment 1 shows that 13- to 15-month-olds (N = 30) can detect an invariant manner of motion when the figure's path changes. Experiment 2 reveals that reducing the complexity of the events, by dampening the figure's path, helps 10- to 12-month-olds (N = 19) detect the invariant manner. These findings suggest that: (a) infants notice event features lexicalized in English motion verbs, and (b) attention to manner can be promoted by reducing event complexity.

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  • ... For example, when habituated to an animated starfish moving on a specific path with respect to a ball (e.g., under the ball) and with a specific manner (e.g., bending), infants dishabituated to the clips when there was a change in either the path (e.g., over the ball) or manner (e.g., jumping). Further studies showed that infants could also extract the common path among several dynamic scenes (hopping under, jumping under, bending under, and twisting under) at 10 months of age and extract the same manner over several paths at 13 months of age ( Pruden et al. 2012Pruden et al. , 2013). Thirteen-to 15-month-old English-learning children can also successfully categorize dynamic realistic events such as extracting the path of through from different examples of the same woman's actions (hopping through, crawling through, walking through, spinning through) ( Konishi, Pruden, Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff 2016). ...
  • ... The current findings extend the work of Pruden and colleagues (2012, 2013) with animated stimuli by demonstrating that infants can form a category of a figure's manner and path even when performed by a human agent in a realistic setting. Taken together, our results, along with the work of others (Pruden et al., 2012Pruden et al., , 2013), suggest that infants can perceive the event components that will be encoded in the spatial prepositions and motion verbs of their language. Does infants' conceptual knowledge of event components have implications for the acquisition of relational terms? ...
  • ... The ability to form categories of these semantic components (e.g., paths, manners) has been hypothesized to be an essential component of mapping language onto events (). Indeed, previous research suggests that infants notice changes in paths and manners by 7 months of age (Pulverman et al., 2008Pulverman et al., , 2013) and form categories of path and manner by 10 to 14 months (Pruden et al., 2012Pruden et al., , 2013). Despite the theoretical significance of examining the long-term effects of perceiving events, no previous studies have assessed infants' ability to form categories of event components and their later knowledge of verbs. ...
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