Language Learning Lab (Graf Estes)

Infants are immersed in a world of immense complexity, yet they display knowledge of the people, objects, actions and sounds in their environments very early in life. Our research explores the mechanisms that support this early learning. In particular, the ability to detect statistical regularities may play a fundamental role in how infants learn about a highly complex, highly salient aspect of the auditory world: language.

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Research Topics

How Infants Learn New Words

We explore how the sound of words affects how easy it is to learn what words mean. We show infants different made-up objects matched with new labels and measure what children learn about them. We measure learning by monitoring their attention to the labels and objects.

Infant's Flexibility in Recognizing Words

We explore how the sound of words affects how easy it is to recognize the word and object. We show infants set of pictures and he/she’ll hear a request to look at one of two objects shown on the screen at the front of the room.

How Infants Identify Words

These studies are about how infants identify individual words in fluent streams of speech based on how consistently sounds go together. We give infants two to five minutes of exposure to a speech stream of made-up new words and then measure their response to the new sounds sequences.

Statistical Learning & Vocabulary

Statistical Learning & Vocabulary Development research examines the relation between individual differences in infants’ vocabulary development and individual differences in statistical learning.