As a pet owner, I often find myself wondering if my dogs are actually “saying” what I have interpreted from their barks, whines, and sighs. When they bark at the door to go outside or at the window when a car passes by, are they using language that I just can’t understand? While dogs definitely […]
Browsing Tag: Featured
On the Tip of Their Tongue: Babies Use Tongue Movement to Learn Language
Have you ever wondered how infants go from communicating via crying, to nonsensical noises, to single syllables, and eventually to words? Well, it turns out infants’ language learning is linked to being able to move their tongue when hearing the sounds: tongue movement isn’t just necessary for *making* speech sounds– it also helps babies *understand* […]
Tuning in and out: language learning and processing with a noisy background
It feels like there are always so many things happening at once. This is especially true when it comes to noise. Even when sitting at your desk, there may be an air conditioner blowing, water dripping in a bathroom nearby, your colleague talking to you, and a background conversation. So, how exactly does our brain […]
Abstract vs. Imageable words: which ones are easier to learn?
Some words are easier to form an image of than others. Think of the word moon: perhaps you think of a pale yellow crescent shape, or an illuminating white circle in front of a smoky blue backdrop. Regardless, the word has a high degree of imageability. Now think of the word truth: what exactly does […]
How do we process language as we see or hear it? You can predict the future (a little bit)!
Language Processing Models: Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Bottom-up pathways rely on data as it comes in. These models process information by building up a larger meaning step-by-step from basic units, kind of like climbing up a staircase. For example, if you used a bottom-up method while reading, your eyes would transmit each individual letter to your […]
Illusions from combining senses: the McGurk Effect!
Are you familiar with the “Yanny or Laurel” debate? If so, which name did you hear? Did what you hear ever change if you were reading one of the names when listening to the sound? If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then you might’ve experienced something called the McGurk Effect! Our experience of […]
Randomized control trials help scientists know if interventions can influence child development.
Have you ever wondered how researchers determine whether a treatment works as expected? One way to achieve this goal is through intervention research. Simply put, in intervention research, scientists and medical practitioners give a new treatment (or intervention) to a group of people and measure if the outcome is different from a group who didn’t […]
Kids tend to slice up the world into whole objects while they’re learning word meanings.
Scientists think that children have a “toolkit” that helps them make a guess about a new word’s meaning. That toolkit has strategies like shape bias and mutual exclusivity. Shape bias means that children are more likely to extend the meaning of a word to new objects that have similar shapes than they are to objects that […]
How do we measure young children’s vocabulary size?
When studying early childhood language, researchers often want to know children’s vocabulary size, but it can be difficult for researchers to get a truly accurate idea of what children words children know. We can’t tell what’s in their usual vocabulary just from interacting with them during a research visit, since we are only around them […]
One way to research children’s development is through elicitation tasks.
Elicitation tasks are a category of research methods that refers to any technique aiming to bring out responses from people. It allows researchers to gain insights into what participants think and know. This method is used in a wide range of disciplines, from cognitive science to behavioral economics. Common elicitation tasks include questionnaires, interviews, and brainstorming […]