Investigating the mechanisms driving referent selection and retention in toddlers at typical and elevated likelihood for autism spectrum disorder

Gliga, Teodora, Skolnick, Alex, Liersch, Ute, Charman, Tony, Johnson, Mark H. and Bedford, Rachael and The BASIS Team (2022) Investigating the mechanisms driving referent selection and retention in toddlers at typical and elevated likelihood for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Language, 49 (5). pp. 1024-1036. ISSN 0305-0009

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It was suggested that children's referent selection may not lay memory traces sufficiently strong to lead to retention of new word-object mappings. If this was the case we expect incorrect selections to be easily rectified through feedback. Previous work suggested this to be the case in toddlers at typical likelihood (TL) but not in those at elevated likelihood (EL) for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Bedford et al., 2013). Yet group differences in lexical knowledge may have confounded these findings. Here, TL (N = 29) and EL toddlers (N = 75) chose one of two unfamiliar objects as a referent for a new word. Both groups retained the word-referent mapping above chance when their choices were immediately reinforced but were at chance after corrective feedback. The same pattern of results was obtained when children observed another experimenter make the initial referent choice. Thus, children's referent choices lay memory traces that compete with subsequent correction; these strong word-object associations are not a result of children actively choosing potential referents for new words.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the BASIS funding consortium led by Autistica (, a United Kingdom Medical Research Council Programme Grant (G0701484) to MJ and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London. R. Bedford was supported by a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (103046/Z/13/Z) and a King's Prize Fellowship (204823/Z/16/Z). The authors are very grateful for the important contributions the BASIS families.
Uncontrolled Keywords: autism spectrum disorders,corrective feedback,referent selection,toddlers,word learning,language and linguistics,experimental and cognitive psychology,developmental and educational psychology,linguistics and language,psychology(all) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 08 May 2021 00:04
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 16:33
DOI: 10.1017/S0305000921000416

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