We offer a new solution to the unsolved problem of how infants break into word learning based on the visual statistics of everyday infant-perspective scenes. Images from head camera video captured by 8 1/2 to 10 1/2 month-old infants at 147 at-home mealtime events were analysed for the objects in view. The images were found to be highly cluttered with many different objects in view. However, the frequency distribution of object categories was extremely right skewed such that a very small set of objects was pervasively present—a fact that may substantially reduce the problem of referential ambiguity. The statistical structure of objects in these infant egocentric scenes differs markedly from that in the training sets used in computational models and in experiments on statistical word-referent learning. Therefore, the results also indicate a need to re-examine current explanations of how infants break into word learning.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘New frontiers for statistical learning in the cognitive sciences’.
One contribution of 13 to a theme issue ‘New frontiers for statistical learning in the cognitive sciences’.
- Accepted July 29, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.