Blicking through video chats: The role of contingency in toddlers' ability to learn novel verbs [article]

(:Unkn) Unknown, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, University, My
2020
Language learning takes place in the context of social relationships. Yet, we know little about the mechanisms that link social interaction to word learning. This dissertation focuses on two aspects of that relationship, social contingency and eye gaze, and asks whether these cues may be a critical ingredient in the well established link between social support and language learning. Specifically, we investigate how toddlers learn novel verbs in one of three conditions. In one, training on four
more » ... , training on four new words was conducted using live interaction. In the second, children were trained on the same words using a contingent screen condition (video-chat). Finally, in the third, they were taught the same words in a video condition that did not maintain social contingency (yoked video). Results suggest that children exposed to novel verbs via contingent screen condition learned these words to the same degree as children in the live condition and far exceeded their peers who were exposed to non-contingent video only. Analysis of looking patterns during training further suggests that children in contingent interactions rely on eye gaze during social interactions, which predicts language learning. Taken together, this dissertation begins to operationally define social cues and to illuminate the mechanism that links social interaction and language acquisition. It also speaks to the literature on learning through screen media as the first study to examine word learning through video chat technology.
doi:10.34944/dspace/2245 fatcat:i5gwdyfxzzfdtnd6kqbq445vny