Individual differences in word learning and consolidation

My PhD research aimed to understand individual differences in word learning and consolidation. Why do some children find word learning harder than others, and what happens to word memories in the longer term? Together with Dr Lisa Henderson and Professor Gareth Gaskell, we looked at how word learning might build on existing vocabulary knowledge.

We approached this question in three main ways. First, we looked at how individuals’ existing vocabulary knowledged predicted their ability to learn and consolidate new words. Second, we manipulated the ways in which new words could relate to prior knowledge, and looked at how it affected word learning success. Third, we looked at children who often find word learning difficult, as is characteristic of children with reading comprehension difficulties.

Emma James
Emma James
Developmental Psychologist