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Title page for ETD etd-08202018-233414

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Jimenez, Sofia Renee
Author's Email Address sofia.r.jimenez@gmail.com
URN etd-08202018-233414
Title Preschoolers' curiosity about novel words
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Megan Saylor Committee Chair
Amy Booth Committee Member
David Dickinson Committee Member
Jonathan Lane Committee Member
  • lexical awareness
  • word acquisition
  • active learning
Date of Defense 2017-08-08
Availability unrestricted
Children who become curious about words’ meanings may be making active, self-directed attempts at learning those words, but little is known about whether they have a preference to learn about novel words. In the current study I create a new measure of children’s curiosity about novel words, investigate developmental change in 3-to-5-year-olds tendency to seek information about novel words, examine the characteristics of children who are word-curious, and determine which contexts elicit systematic information seeking. The results of Study 1 show that preschoolers (N = 86) were more likely to seek information about novel words than they were about familiar words, and that age was the best predictor of this tendency. Children’s explanations for wanting to explore a novel word suggest that they were using metacognitive judgements to support their curiosity. Study 2 investigated whether the discourse context in which these words were provided influenced curiosity about word meaning. The study failed to find evidence that 4-to-5-year-olds’ (N = 28) were more curious about novel words when presented in a familiar context than when presented with no context. These studies lay the foundation for research on preschoolers’ curiosity about novel words and active word learning.
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