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Factors structuring lexical development in toddlers: The effects of parental education, language exposure, and age

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2022

Camila SCAFF*
Affiliation:
Human Ecology Group, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et de Psycholinguistique, Departement d’Etudes Cognitives, ENS, EHESS, CNRS, PSL University, Paris, France
Laia FIBLA
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, The University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
Alejandrina CRISTIA
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et de Psycholinguistique, Departement d’Etudes Cognitives, ENS, EHESS, CNRS, PSL University, Paris, France
*
Corresponding author: Camila Scaff. E-mail: camillescaff@gmail.com.

Abstract

A growing body of research suggests that individual variation in young children’s word comprehension (indexed by response times and accuracy) is structured and meaningful. In this paper, we assess how children’s word comprehension correlates with three factors: socio-economic status (indexed by maternal education), lingual status (based on language exposure), and age. We present results from 91 2- to 3-year-old children using a paired forced-choice task built on a child-friendly touch screen. Effects associated with maternal education and exposure to the tested language (French) were small, and they were greater for accuracy than response times. This pattern of results is compatible with an interpretation whereby the greatest effects of these two variables are on cumulative knowledge (vocabulary size) rather than on processing. Effects for age were larger and affected both accuracy and response times. Finally, response time variation did not mediate the effects of socio-economic status on accuracy or vice versa.

Type
Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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