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Department of Environmental Information
Keio University at Shonan-Fujisawa

Field of Specialization

Cognitive Science

Research Interests

My research interests include three questions that are deeply interwoven with one another:
(1) How children learn language;
(2) The role of language in conceptual development;
(3) Relation between language and thought (in cross linguistic contexts) in children and adults.

For example, in my recent work, I studied how young children learn novel nouns and verbs, and there,
I compared Japanese, Chinese, and English-speaking children
to examine how linguistic properties of children’s native language affect the pattern of learning
(Imai et al., under review).

I also have been studying how grammatical categorization system
such as classifier grammar and gender-marking grammar affects how children and adults form categories,
construe similarity, construe individuation of entities, and draw inductive reasoning
(Imai & Mazuka, 2007; Saalbach & Imai, 2005, 2006, 2007).

Recently, I added sound symbolism to my research program (Imai, Kita, Nagumo & Okada, 2008),
investigating children and adults find correspondence between sound of words and their meanings,
how sensitivity to the sound-meaning correspondence evolves and how it is neurally processed.