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Adult Performance in Naming Spatial Dimensions of Objects

  • Miguel Ángel Galeote Moreno (a1), Herminia Peraita Adrados (a2) and Elena Checa Ponce (a1)


Most work on acquisition of lexical meaning in developmental psycholinguistics is based on the idea of the relevance of the adult model, which is generally described in relation to certain theoretical semantic analyses. Up to the present, adult behavior itself has not been examined and its validity as a model for children has been taken for granted. This paper analyzes the knowledge of spatial terms, namely dimensional terms, shown by a group of 20 adults. The results show that the adult subjects used in our study - supposedly linguistically competent - committed errors, significantly varying their strategies for naming dimensions from one case to another, and showing a lack of consistency between them. The results are discussed in terms of assumed theoretical validity with regard to theoretical semantic analysis, as well as the methods of research about the acquisition of lexical meaning.

Gran parte del trabajo sobre la adquisición del significado léxico en psicolingüística evolutiva suele tomar como referencia el modelo adulto de respuesta, el cual se define en relación con ciertos modelos semánticos teóricos. Según esto, la conducta adulta no se suele examinar empíricamente, dándose por supuesta su validez como modelo con el que comparar la conducta de los niños. En este artículo se analiza específicamente el conocimiento de términos espaciales, más concretamente, adjetivos dimensionales, mostrado por un grupo de 20 adultos. Los resultados muestran que los sujetos adultos de nuestro estudio, supuestamente competentes desde el punto de vista lingüístico, cometían errores, variaban significativamente sus estrategias al nombrar las distintas dimensiones y mostraban un buen número de inconsistencias entre ellos. Se analizan estos resultados en función de la validez teórica asumida en relación con los modelos semánticos teóricos y su repercusión con respecto a los métodos de investigación en la adquisición del significado léxico.


Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Miguel Ángel Galeote Moreno, Dto. de Psicología Evolutiva y de la Educación. Facultad de Psicología.Universidad de Málaga. Campus de Teatinos, s/n. 29071 Málaga (Spain). FAX: 34-52 213 26 35. E-mail:


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