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Title: The Shape of Infants' Abstract Rule Learning: Agency and Communicative Signals
Authors: Tippenhauer, Nicholas
Advisors: Lew-Williams, Casey
Contributors: Goldberg, Adele
Department: Independent Concentration
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Research evidence has suggested that the learning of abstract patterns from different classes of stimuli is not a mechanism applicable solely to speech and language. Rather, this process is facilitated generally by communicative signals. Introducing non-speech stimuli, sine-wave tones, as if they could be used to communicate allows infants to learn abstract rules when they had been previously unsuccessful. The question of which aspects of this communicative pre-exposure carries this effect remains open. This study addressed whether or not presentation of sine-wave tones in the context of two shapes communicating would enable abstract rule learning. 7- to 7.5-month showed signs of learning patterns underlying tones following pre-exposure, but the effect was not as strong as previously observed effects under similar conditions involving pre-exposure to human agents. This suggests that human interaction might be an unambiguous presentation of communication, but that nonhuman agents are somewhat capable of shaping learning through infants’ apparent bias to learn from communicatively relevant signals.
Extent: 60 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Independent Concentration, 1972-2016

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