Object Similarity Bootstraps Young Children to Action-Based Verb Extension

Etsuko Haryu, Mutsumi Imai, Hiroyuki Okada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Young children often fail to generalize a novel verb based on sameness of action since they have difficulty focusing on the relational similarity across events while at the same time ignoring the objects that are involved. Study 1, with Japanese-speaking 3- and 4-year-olds (N=28 in each group), found that similarity of objects involved in action events plays a scaffolding role in children's extraction of relational similarity across events when they extend a verb. Study 2, with 4-year-olds (N=47), further showed that repeated experience of action-based verb extension supported by object similarity leads children to be better able to extend a novel verb based on sameness of action, even without support from object similarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-686
Number of pages13
JournalChild Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Mar 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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