Fine motor abilities and parental input of spatial features predict object word comprehension of Turkish-learning children
Object word learning can be based on infant-related factors such as their manual actions and socio-linguistic factors such as parental input. Specific input for spatial features (i.e., size, shape, features of objects) can be related to object word comprehension in early vocabulary development. In a longitudinal study, we investigated whether fine motor abilities at 14 months and parental input for spatial features at 19 months predicted object word comprehension at 25 months. Twenty-seven Turkish-learning children were tested at three time points (Time 1: M-age = 14.4 months, Time 2: M-age = 18.6 months, Time 3: M-age = 25 months). We measured word comprehension through the parental report and fine motor abilities with Mullen at Time 1. We used a puzzle play session to assess parental input for spatial features at Time 2 and a standardized receptive vocabulary test at Time 3. We found that fine motor abilities were related to object word comprehension. However, parental input for spatial features at 19 months predicted object word comprehension at 25 months beyond fine motor abilities at 14 months. Early fine motor abilities and using different words for spatial features may foster infants' visual experiences in play and exploration episodes, leading to better object word learning.