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Desia Bacon

Undergraduate Major: Psychology

Future Plans: Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology

Desia Bacon

Desia Bacon is from the small town of Callahan, FL. She left her hometown for UCF to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Minor in Cognitive Sciences and Leadership Studies. Her passion lies in working with children and researching questions pertaining to cognitive development and language acquisition. Desia has previously researched children's understanding of linguistic color categories under the guidance of Dr. David Barner as part of the University of California San Diego, STARS Summer Research Program. Desia plans on obtaining her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in hopes of continuing research, becoming part of a professoriate, and mentoring other underrepresented students.

First Color Word Learning in Toddlers

Conducted at the University of California, San Diego, STARS Summer Research Program

Mentors: Dr. David Barner, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego

Abstract: Children tend to use color language incorrectly before they master adult-like meanings. Previous work on children who have begun to produce color words suggests that mastering color word meanings requires children to figure out adult-like perceptual boundaries between color words (e.g., between blue and green) in their language. This study investigated whether children have broad, narrow, or adult-like understanding of color words in the earliest stages of color word acquisition - even before they have begun to produce any color words. All participants (18 – 30 month olds) completed a verbal color word production task, an eye-tracking color word comprehension task, and a parent report measure of production/comprehension of color words. We hypothesized that children construct initial color word meanings prior to producing them and that they refine these meanings according to the distribution of labeled color shades in their environment. Preliminary data replicate prior work showing that children often overextend color word meanings for words that they already produce. However, we also demonstrate that children may under-extend color word meanings for words they have yet to produce. These findings suggest that children may construct initially narrow color word meanings prior to production, overextend these meanings as part of the production process, and gradually refine them over time to converge on language specific color word boundaries.