Words (but not Tones) facilitate object categorization: Evidence from 6- and 12-month-olds

Anne L. Fulkerson*, Sandra R. Waxman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Recent studies reveal that naming has powerful conceptual consequences within the first year of life. Naming distinct objects with the same word highlights commonalities among the objects and promotes object categorization. In the present experiment, we pursued the origin of this link by examining the influence of words and tones on object categorization in infants at 6 and 12 months. At both ages, infants hearing a novel word for a set of distinct objects successfully formed object categories; those hearing a sequence of tones for the same objects did not. These results support the view that infants are sensitive to powerful and increasingly nuanced links between linguistic and conceptual units very early in the process of lexical acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-228
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Categorization
  • Infancy
  • Object naming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Words (but not Tones) facilitate object categorization: Evidence from 6- and 12-month-olds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this