Words are the building blocks of language as a powerful communicative modality. My research focuses on a variety of learning strategies that young children use to acquire a sizeable lexicon. These strategies involve (statistical) learning mechanisms that help them to cope with visual input, and following their parents' social cues such as gestures to determine the correct referent for a novel word. Through experimental research with babies, toddlers, and caregivers, I aim to provide insight in how such language strategies may complement each other. The goal of my research is to identify the (nonverbal) factors that facilitate word learning in children between ages 0-4, and use this knowledge to develop a better understanding of word learning mechanisms in general. Ultimately, my research could contribute to the development of educationally responsible materials to improve word learning in preschoolers, minimizing the risk of them falling behind in school at a later age.
Read more about me in my short CV , LinkedIn page, or Google Scholar page. You can also read more about my Early Career Fellowship on the webpage of the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick.
Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals
Aussems, S., & Vogt., P. (in press). Adults use cross-situational statistics for word learning in a conservative way. IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems. doi: 10.1109/TCDS.2018.2870161
Aussems, S., & Kita, S. (2018). Seeing iconic gestures with action events facilitates children's memory of these events. Child Development. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12988
Aussems, S., Kwok, N., & Kita, S. (2017). GestuRe and ACtion Exemplar (GRACE) Video Database: Stimuli for Research on Manners of Human Locomotion and Iconic Gestures. Behavior Research Methods, 50(3), 1270-1284. doi: 10.3758/s13428-017-0942-2
Vogt, P., Mastin, J.D., & Aussems, S. (2015). Early Vocabulary Development in Rural and Urban Mozambique. Child Development Research, vol. 2015, Article ID 189195, 15 pages. doi:10.1155/2015/189195.
Publication in peer-reviewed conference proceedings
Aussems, S., Mumford, K. H., & Kita, S. (2017). Seeing Iconic Gestures Helps 3-Year-Olds Link Multiple Exemplars for Verb Learning [Abstract]. Talk presented at the International Conference on Gesture and Multimodality (iGesto'17), University of Porto, Portugal.
Aussems, S., & Kita, S. (2016). How iconic hand gestures can change children's memory representation of action events [Abstract]. Poster presented at the 7th conference of the International Society of Gesture Studies (ISGS7), Paris, France.
Aussems, S., Chu, M., Kita, S., & van Zaanen, M. (2015). Applying Pattern-based Classification to Sequences of Gestures. In Noelle, D. C., Dale, R., Warlaumont, A. S., Yoshimi, J., Matlock, T., Jennings, C. D., & Maglio, P. P. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 124-129). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Aussems, S., & Vogt, P. (2015). Adults Track Multiple Hypotheses Simultaneously during Word Learning. In Noelle, D. C., Dale, R., Warlaumont, A. S., Yoshimi, J., Matlock, T., Jennings, C. D., & Maglio, P. P. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 118-123). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
van Zaanen, M., van Huyssteen, G., Aussems, S., Emmery, C., & Eiselen, R. (2014). The development of Dutch and Afrikaans language resources for compound boundary analysis. In N. Calzolari et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (pp. 1056-1062). Reykjavik, Iceland.
Aussems, S., & Vogt, P. (2013). Exploring cross-situational learning and mutual exclusivity [Abstract]. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (p. 3874). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Aussems, S., Goris, B., Lichtenberg, V., van Noord, N., Smetsers, R., & van Zaanen, M. (2013). Unsupervised identification of compounds. In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Belgian-Dutch Conference on Machine Learning (pp. 18-25). Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Aussems, S., Bruys, S., Goris, B., Lichtenberg, V., van Noord, N., Smetsers, R., & van Zaanen, M. (2013). Automatically identifying compounds. In Book of abstracts of the 23rd meeting of Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands (p.10). Enschede, The Netherlands.
Manuscripts under review at peer-reviewed scientific journals
Aussems, S., Mumford, K. H., & Kita, S. (n.d.). Seeing iconic gestures helps children to use prior action knowledge for verb learning. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Aussems, S., & Kita, S. (n.d.). Seeing iconic gestures promotes second-order verb generalization in preschoolers. Manuscript submitted for publication.