ERIC Number: EJ1077849
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Attention to the Mouth and Gaze Following in Infancy Predict Language Development
Tenenbaum, Elena J.; Sobel, David M.; Sheinkpof, Stephen J.; Malle, Bertram F.; Morgan, James L.
Journal of Child Language, v42 n6 p1173-1190 Nov 2015
We investigated longitudinal relations among gaze following and face scanning in infancy and later language development. At 12 months, infants watched videos of a woman describing an object while their passive viewing was measured with an eye-tracker. We examined the relation between infants' face scanning behavior and their tendency to follow the speaker's attentional shift to the object she was describing. We also collected language outcome measures on the same infants at 18 and 24 months. Attention to the mouth and gaze following at 12 months both predicted later productive vocabulary. The results are discussed in terms of SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT, which may account for both attentional distribution and language onset. We argue that an infant's inherent interest in engaging with others (in addition to creating more opportunities for communication) leads infants to attend to the most relevant information in a social scene and that this information facilitates language learning.
Descriptors: Child Language, Infants, Longitudinal Studies, Attention, Human Body, Eye Movements, Infant Behavior, Child Development, Age Differences, Interpersonal Communication, Language Acquisition, Monolingualism, English, Parent Surveys, Check Lists, Cues, Experiments
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: HD32005