A computational model associating learning process, word attributes, and age of acquisition
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We propose a new model-based approach linking word learning to the age of acquisition (AoA) of words; a new computational tool for understanding the relationships among word learning processes, psychological attributes, and word AoAs as measures of vocabulary growth. The computational model developed describes the distinct statistical relationships between three theoretical factors underpinning word learning and AoA distributions. Simply put, this model formulates how different learning processes, characterized by change in learning rate over time and/or by the number of exposures required to acquire a word, likely result in different AoA distributions depending on word type. We tested the model in three respects. The first analysis showed that the proposed model accounts for empirical AoA distributions better than a standard alternative. The second analysis demonstrated that the estimated learning parameters well predicted the psychological attributes, such as frequency and imageability, of words. The third analysis illustrated that the developmental trend predicted by our estimated learning parameters was consistent with relevant findings in the developmental literature on word learning in children. We further discuss the theoretical implications of our model-based approach.
- PLoS ONE
PLoS ONE 8(12), e76242, 2013-11-01