The role of inhibition in moving beyond perceptually focused noun extensions

Simon Snape, Andrea Krott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


When young children interpret novel nouns, they tend to be very much affected by the perceptual features of the referent objects, especially shape. We investigated whether children might inhibit a prepotent tendency to base novel nouns on the shape of referent objects in order to base them on conceptual features (i.e. taxonomic object categories). We tested 3- to 5-year old children on a noun extension task, alongside a test of their inhibition and more general executive control ability. Noun extensions were related to inhibition ability, independent of age. Noun extensions were not related to individual differences in our general executive control task. This suggests a potential role for inhibition in extension which is independent of other aspects of cognitive development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
JournalFirst Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2017


  • shape bias
  • Noun learning
  • inhibition
  • executive function
  • perceptual focus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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