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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Two experiments examined the emergent mapping
phenomenon in Portuguese-speaking children aged 3-13. This
phenomenon is relevant to developmental psychologists' interest
in "fast mapping" of new word-referent relations and also to
behavior analysts' interest in behavior that emerges without
explicit conditioning. We studied 52 children, using the "blank
comparison" matching-to-sample technique described by
Wilkinson and Mclivane (1997). The technique allows direct
measurement of the stimulus control bases of emergent mapping,
for example, to determine whether new words and their referents
are related directly or via rejection (i.e., exclusion) of previously
defined referents. Children demonstrated both types of controlling
relations. These studies systematically replicate prior emergent
mapping research in a large cohort of non-English-speaking
children. Also found were apparent developmental differences
between older and younger children. Although all children tended
to relate novel stimuli, the tendency appeared to decline as
children aged. This study confirms the utility of the blank
comparison technique in emergent mapping research and also
provides the first data set from school-aged children.

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