Potential relevance of general purpose mechanisms to the onset of language: Audio-visual integration of nouns and verbs  

Marklund, E., Lacerda, F., Klintfors, E., Gustavsson, L., Sundberg, U. & Bjursäter, U.

In the Proceedings of ESF Research Conference on Brain Development and Cognition in Human Infants - From Action to Cognition, Acquafredda di Maratea, Italy, 1-6 October 2005: pages.


The goal of this study was to investigate infants' ability to integrate audio-visual events. This was tested by exposing infants to a short film while recording their eye movements using an Eye-Tracking device. The materials consisted of video sequences displaying animated cartoon animals moving across the screen. The audio presented three-word sentences spoken in an artificial language, implicitly referring to the action; one animal walking towards or away from the other, and the two animals involved. The first sequence of the film was a quadrant divided baseline showing different animated cartoon objects/actors moving towards or away from each other during silence. The next sequences of the film showed a kangaroo and an elephant moving towards or away from each other in all possible combinations balanced regarding left/right. The last sequence was identical to the baseline, except that the audio repeated one of the words referring to one of the nouns or verbs presented during the exposure. The data is currently being analyzed and will be presented at the conference. It is expected that there will be differences in performance regarding word-classes and between different age groups.

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