The CALLED Model of Early Word Learning

William Merriman

The CALLED (Competition, Attention, and Learned Lexical Descriptions) model grounds young children’s word learning in processes such as attention, associative learning, and memory retrieval. It has 2 components, one that forms representations of words’ exemplars from hearing words used and the other that stores semantic propositions about words by either copying or constructing these from input. Acceptance of a label for something depends on how well it matches the label’s exemplar representation and on what, if any, propositions about the label are retrieved. All empirical effects that have been attributed to the Mutual Exclusivity bias (Markman, 1989) emerge from the competitive mechanism by which exemplar representations are activated.


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