Prenominal vs postnominal adjectives

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Both language and perception. Two of my favorite topics:

[...] the prediction was simple: using color words after nouns should make colors far easier to learn, and should make kids far faster at learning them. To test this, we took a couple dozen two-year olds and gave them some quick training on color words. Either we trained them with prenominal sentences (the standard variety) or postnominal sentences (helpful, we hoped). In both cases, we would simply show them familiar objects and say encouraging things like “This is a blue crayon” or “This crayon is green.” Then we would test them again, with the same standard battery.

We found that the kids who got the postnominal training improved significantly over their baseline test scores, whereas the ones who got the prenominal training still looked just as confused as ever. Given that previous studies hadn’t found much improvement after hundreds of explicit training trials, it was hard to believe that such a simple manipulation could make such a clear difference—and yet, it did!

More at the Scientific Americam Mind Matters Blog.

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This page contains a single entry by published on January 17, 2011 10:09 PM.

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