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Lecture 3

PSY315H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Object Permanence, Joint Attention, Auditory System

Course Code
Judy Plantinga

of 4
Lecture 3:
Foundations of Language: Sensory & Perceptual
Cognitive Social & Communicative
January 14, 2015
3:17 PM
Want to know a little bit about infant memory
Methods for studying infant abilities
Talked about some of them that were more imaging studies and imaging studies can tell
you what's going on in the brain but they don't tell you about their behaviour
Brain can process information but sometimes the baby can't perform certain behaviours
Before babies are born we can use heart rate to see if they can discriminate between
certain stimuli
Babies can discriminate pitch
You can also use non-nutritive sucking and once babies slow down
Once they learn about a stimulus they get tired of hearing it
oCan also be used in an operant condition (high amplitude sucking)
oEstablish sucking baseline and if they suck slower vs. faster you can measure
the difference
Conditioned Head Turn: Repeated sound is played to the baby, and if there's a change in
the sound and they look in the direction of the sound, you can see one of the box with the
toys will light up
o They'll get some kind of reward
oBabies learn that if there's a change and they look at it, they'll get a reward like
seeing an animal dance
oIf they don't discriminate, we can't say that they're not treating them differently
Preferential looking: Done most often, done in one of two ways
oDone with a setup similar to the head turn
oThere's a reward on both sides of the baby and their attention is centered and
when they focus their attention on a certain location, you play a sound and once they
stop looking they stop the sound
oIf the baby looks for a longer period on a certain side, we know that they know
the difference;
Perceptual Foundations of Language Learning
Child lays down the perceptual framework for learning their first words
Auditory system begins to function before birth
oThey can learn and discriminate between prosody
oThey'll remember a sound that was played before birth
oCan recognize the rhythm of their native language
oSounds have to be much louder for infants to be able to hear them
oHigher pitch discrimination is easier to discriminate than low pitch
oInfants come into the world to be able to hear the language spoken around them
oThey can match speech sounds to the faces that produce them
Evidence that within the first two months of life, infants are able to discriminate between
speech contrasts
oBabies demonstrate the ability to overcome this variability and recognize words
oAt two months words are remembered better with normal level prosody
compared to flat level prosody???
oBetween birth and six months they begin to show a preference for vowel sounds
in their own months
8 Months: They can use stress patterns to separate words and if you familiarize them
with words
12 months they can notice a picture of their dad and familiarize the picture with the word
Even before birth they have some understanding of how to use language
Infant Hearing and Learning
For certain speech sounds, they differ only in voice onset time
At a certain point we switch our perception from "p" to 'b"
Voice onset time is 20ms different for the difference between "pa" and "ba"
What we hear plays a role in our discrimination
We tune to the sounds of our all ages around 9 months babies stop discriminating
between sounds that are no longer relevant to them
Those better at distinguishing among non-native signs are slower
The infants just no longer pay attention it's not that they can't do it
Infants can easily re-learn non-native languages
Cognitive Foundations
What cognitions have to be in place for learning?
Child must understand the physical and social events around them
Conceptual understanding of the Meanings Language
Infants can look longer at the one that they felt with their mouth; can use senses to build
Can build object consistency
Depth Perception: Ability to discriminate sounds based on sound quality
They're developing a knowledge of all the things around them in the world
Idea of object permanence
The way a mother speaks to them allows an infant to understand that an emotion is
being conveyed towards them
Domain-General Mechanisms of learning and Development
Ability to learn rules is one of them
oInfants are able to abstract pattern rules and pull out patterns
oYou can give them a new example and they'll know which category it belongs to
For test strings, 18 month olds can learn a rule if given 24 examples but not if they were
given 12
Statistical Learning
Used to test an infant's ability to understand distribution of individual samples
Pairs of stimuli were presented and the infants were able to distinguish between pairs
and non-pairs
Study with 8 month olds and presented them with 4 3 syllable words and repeated them
in random order and tester whether the babies can separate between the words and non-
Domain General Mechanisms
When it comes to language babies are trying to make sense of the statistical patterns
Memory & Attentional Processes
Working memory is thought to be split up into three portions
oDecides to go to visual spatial sketch pad or it goes to the phonological store
(how many sounds in a new sequence one can remember) or it goes to long term
Pre-schoolers show considerable variation in memory
Size of one's phonological memory is partially influenced by language experience
Better the trace on each occasion, the greater the learning
Weak phonological memory skills may just need more exposure; if it's a bad
representation, it'll take longer to build up the memory for it
Evidence that children's phonological short-term memory is related to acquisition to the
phonological forms of new words and predicts future vocab size and in adolescence it
predicts their adolescence learning in another language
Phonological memory determines their learning in a foreign language
Performance is not a matter of having required knowledge but being able to handle the
multiple demands of a task
Very young children have trouble in conversation because it's hard to keep track of what
you're saying and what they want to say; they only focus on what they want to say rather
than listening to you
The short lookers are able to process information much faster than what the long lookers
Children with language disorders also have problems with their central executive
processes as well
Kids with language difficulties also have trouble with their executive function
Correlation of faster you process, bigger your vocab will be
Sleep is an important part of cognition
oMechanism good for language but works in other cognition
Social & Communicative Foundations
Chomsky argued that communicative language is not relevant
Central function of language, kids who grow up alone won't learn language
oSocial aspect to language.. How ironic
Competition is strong to converse with the mother especially when there's more people
Infants have the ability to follow someone else's gaze
Newborns prefer human speech over other sounds
Infants expect speech to come from human faces
Watching videos and TV seemed detrimental up to the age 8-16 months
oInteracting less with real people
Social Skill: Joint attention two people attend their attention to one thing at around 10-
12 months of age
oAutistic children have trouble with joint attention
oJoint attention may not be necessary for language development
Some people don't speak to their infant at all during preverbal ages
More gestures a child uses, the bigger their vocabulary