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We explored the nature of infants’ concepts for goal path and source path in motion events (e.g., the duck moved into the bowl/out of the bowl), specifically asking how infants’ representations could support the acquisition of the semantic roles of goal path and source path in language. The results showed that 14.5-month-old infants categorized goal paths across different motion events (moving to X, moving on Y), and they also categorized source paths if the source reference objects were highly salient (relatively large in size and colorful). Infants at 10 months also categorized goal paths, suggesting that the broad concept GOAL PATH precedes the acquisition of the relevant spatial terms (e.g., “to”, “onto”). These results are discussed in terms of the nature of goal and source path representations in infancy (e.g., whether they are represented at a general level – one that encompasses specific relations such as containment and support) as well as the possible mechanisms that may be involved in the mapping of these representations to language.



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Lakusta, L., Spinelli, D., & Garcia, K. (2017). The relationship between pre-verbal event representations and semantic structures: The case of goal and source paths. Cognition, 164, 174-187.

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