Adults' Language Abilities: Relations Between Metacognition and Cross-Situational Word Learning

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Abbie Thompson


Arts and Sciences


Psychology, Language Development

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


Both children and adults are excellent word learners, and one way in which individuals learn language is through cross-situational word learning (CSWL). In CSWL paradigms participants see multiple items on a screen and hear them labeled. They are not informed which label goes with each referent and must track the co-occurrences across trials. Infants’ (Yu et al., 2011), preschoolers’ (Vlach & DeBrock, 2016), and adults’ (Benitez et al., 2020) memory abilities are related to their CSWL abilities. Memory is an important factor in CSWL in both massed trials and interleaved trials (Vlach & DeBrock, 2016). Related to memory is metacognition, in which individuals have an understanding and awareness of their own thought (Hembacher & Ghetti, 2014). Given that memory is important to CSWL abilities, the current study investigates if there is a similar relationship between adults’ CSWL and metacognition.

Participants will include adults above the age of 18 (N=15). CSWL will be measured for interleaved and massed items similar to that used by Vlach & Johnson (2013). CSWL is assessed as their accuracy of choosing the correct referent over a distractor. Metacognition will be assessed by asking participants how confident they are with their answers.

We plan to run a regression with CSWL as the dependent variable. We predict that adults with better metacognition will be more accurate in their judgments about the accuracy of their word-referent mappings. The implications of these results will aid our understanding of the mechanisms that support word learning and add to our growing understanding of metacognition.

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