Attention to the mouth and gaze following in infancy predict language development

Published

Journal Article

ABSTRACTWe 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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • TENENBAUM, ELENAJ; SOBEL, DAVIDM; SHEINKOPF, STEPHENJ; MALLE, BERTRAMF; MORGAN, JAMESL

Published Date

  • November 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1173 - 1190

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7602

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0305-0009

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/s0305000914000725

Language

  • en