The Infant Language and Perceptual Learning Lab has received an exciting NIH grant and is in the final stages of completing the work proposed!
Infant statistical learning: Resilience, longevity, and specificity.
Infants’ perceptual environments are extremely complex and noisy. In order to make sense of their environment infants must discover meaningful regularities and patterns in the sounds and sights around them. For example, among other things, in order to learn language infants need to be able to figure out what sounds go together to make words. Even this seemingly simple task is very complex because words are not spoken in isolation and there are many other sounds that may interfere with finding words in speech. Despite both the language and environment being extremely complex, infants learn their native language with remarkable ease!
In this grant, we are trying to understand how infants learn so much about language so quickly. Specifically, we are investigating how infants find, learn, and remember words that they hear in fluent speech. Infants’ abilities to pick up on patterns in language, even when faced with challenging learning situations, may also help them learn subsequent things about language like how words map onto meaning. It is our hope that understanding how typically developing kids acquire language will shed light on the causal mechanisms for specific language delays in atypical populations.