- University of California, Davis
- National Institutes of Health and Human Development (R03; In progress)
- UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences (In Progress)
- National Science Foundation (Completed; Grant #0847379)
The findings from this project will shed light on how infants track the statistical regularities of their native language and how those regularities shape early language development. More broadly, this investigation will contribute to the understanding of the bases of language acquisition. Furthermore, revealing the nature of fundamental language acquisition mechanisms has significant implications for understanding the developmental course of language impairments. Characterizing the processes that drive early language acquisition in typically developing infants will inform the search for the bases of language deficits. In addition, this project integrates educational opportunities for students with the research program, specifically focusing on the recruitment of research assistants from promising high school students and undergraduates who belong to groups underrepresented in higher education and in research. Students will participate throughout the research process, from recruiting and testing participants to disseminating the results to the public and scientific communities. Involvement in a research group provides students with unique opportunities to develop strong academic ties and academic skills, to participate in mentoring relationships, and to develop new ways of thinking.
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
- National Institutes of Health and Human Development (Completed; Grant #HD062755)
The experiments use measures of listening time and looking time to test infants’ detection of novel statistical regularities, and to test their knowledge of native-language statistical regularities. Infants participate in speech, non-speech auditory, and visual statistical learning tasks in order to evaluate the coherence of statistical learning across domains. A label-learning task also taps infants’ ability to use native language statistical regularities to acquire new lexical items. In each experiment, infants’ performance on experimental tasks will be integrated with measures of their real-world vocabulary development. These findings of this research promise to inform understanding of the underlying mechanism that contribute to individual differences in language acquisition.