Twelve-Month-Old Infants Generalize Novel Signed Labels, but Not Preferences Across Individuals

Miriam A. Novack*, Annette M.E. Henderson, Amanda L. Woodward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


By the end of the 1st year, infants expect spoken labels to be extended across individuals and thus seem to understand words as shared conventional forms. However, it is unknown whether infants' willingness to extend labels across individuals is constrained to familiar forms, such as spoken words, or whether infants can identify a broader range of symbols as potential conventions. The present study tested whether 12-month-old infants will extend a novel sign label to a new person. Results indicate that 12-month-olds expect signed object–label relations to extend across agents but restrict object preferences to individuals. The results suggest that infants' expectations about conventional behaviors and linguistic forms are likely broad at 12 months. The implications of these findings for infants' early conceptions of conventional behaviors as well as our understanding of the initial state of the learner are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-550
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Twelve-Month-Old Infants Generalize Novel Signed Labels, but Not Preferences Across Individuals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this