Developmental Differences Between Children and Adults in the Use of Visual Cues for Segmentation

Ori Lavi-Rotbain*, Inbal Arnon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recent work asked if visual cues facilitate word segmentation in adults and infants (Thiessen, 2010). While adults showed better word segmentation when presented with a regular visual cue (consistent mapping between words and objects), infants did not. This difference was attributed to infants' lack of understanding that objects have labels. Alternatively, infants’ performance could reflect their difficulty with tracking and integrating multiple multimodal cues. We contrasted these two accounts by looking at the effect of visual cues on word segmentation in adults and across childhood (6–12 years). We found that older children (Mage 10;7) benefitted from the regular visual cues, but younger children (Mage 7;10), who already knew that objects have labels, did not. Knowing that objects have labels was not enough to use visual cues as an aid for segmentation. These findings show that the ability to integrate multimodal cues develops during childhood, and it is not yet adult-like in children.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)606-620
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive Science
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.


  • Audio–visual input
  • Language development
  • Language learning
  • Statistical learning
  • Word learning
  • Word segmentation


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