Debbora Hall

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Three experiments explored preschoolers' and adults' understanding of the distinctive semantic functions of adjectives (i.e., to name properties) and count nouns (i.e., to name object kinds). In Experiment 1, we modeled a familiar adjective (e.g., "blue") syntactically as either an adjective (e.g., "This is a blue one") or a count noun (e.g., "This is a(More)
We examined the role of object kind familiarity (i.e., knowledge of a count noun for an object) on preschoolers' sensitivity to the relation between a novel word's form class (adjective or count noun) and its reference (to a material kind-property or to an object kind). We used a forced-choice match-to-target task, in which children learned a word for one(More)
Rhythmic grouping enhances verbal serial recall, yet very little is known about memory for rhythmic patterns. The aim of this study was to compare the cognitive processes supporting memory for rhythmic and verbal sequences using a range of concurrent tasks and irrelevant sounds. In Experiment 1, both concurrent articulation and paced finger tapping during(More)
Recent research suggests that, although young children appreciate many different kinds of conceptual relations among objects, they focus specifically on taxonomic relations in the context of word learning. However, because the evidence for children's appreciation of this linkage between words and object categories has come primarily from children who have(More)
Three experiments were conducted, involving a total of 180 2 1/2-5-year-old children. The experiments assessed the claim that preschoolers override form class cues in the interest of honoring word-meaning assumptions when they acquire new labels. Children were asked to choose an unlabeled- or a labeled-category object as the referent of a novel word modeled(More)
In 6 experiments, 144 toddlers were tested in groups ranging in mean age from 20 to 37 months. In all experiments, children learned a novel label for a doll or a stuffed animal. The label was modeled syntactically as either a count noun (e.g., "This is a ZAV") or a proper name (e.g., "This is ZAV"). The object was then moved to a new location in front of(More)
In three experiments, a total of 480 participants heard a version of the story of the ship of Theseus (Hobbes, 1672/1913), in which a novel object, labeled with a possessive noun phrase, underwent a transformation in which its parts were replaced one at a time. Participants then had to decide which of two objects carried the same possessive noun phrase as(More)
This study examined 3- and 4-year-old preschoolers' ability to learn proper names containing familiar descriptions. Children saw a novel creature with a familiar property (it was red) and heard either an adjective ("This is a red one") or a descriptive proper name ("This is Mr. Red"). The creature was then transformed, losing the property (e.g., it became(More)
We ask the question: Which aspects of immediate memory performance improve with age? In two studies, we reexamine the widely held view that primary memory capacity estimates derived from children's immediate free recall are age invariant. This was done by assessing children's immediate free-recall accuracy while also measuring the order in which they(More)
In this study, we investigate the development of primary memory capacity among children. Children between the ages of 5 and 8 completed 3 novel tasks (split span, interleaved lists, and a modified free-recall task) that measured primary memory by estimating the number of items in the focus of attention that could be spontaneously recalled in serial order.(More)