The Development of Gaze Following in Monolingual and Bilingual Infants: A Multi-Lab Study

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Description: Determining the meanings of words requires language learners to attend to what other people say. However, it behooves a young language learner to simultaneously attend to what other people attend to, for example, by following the direction of their eye gaze. Sensitivity to cues such as eye gaze might be particularly important for bilingual infants, as they encounter less consistency between words and objects than monolinguals, and do not always have access to the same word learning heuristics (e.g., mutual exclusivity). In a pre-registered study, we tested the hypothesis that bilingual experience would lead to a more pronounced ability to follow another’s gaze. We used the gaze-following paradigm developed by Senju & Csibra (2008) to test a total of 93 6–9 month-old and 229 12–15 month-old monolingual and bilingual infants, in 11 labs located in 8 countries. Monolingual and bilingual infants showed similar gaze-following abilities, and both groups showed age-related improvements in speed, accuracy, frequency and duration of fixations to congruent objects. Unexpectedly, bilinguals tended to make more frequent fixations to onscreen objects, whether or not they were cued by the actor. These results suggest that gaze sensitivity is a fundamental aspect of development that is robust to variation in language exposure.

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  • Gaze following: Instructions


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  • Gaze following project pre-registration timeline

    Documentation of timeline of project registration

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  • ManyBabies1B - A multi-lab study of bilingual infants: Exploring the preference for infant-directed speech

    From the earliest months of life, infants prefer listening to and learn better from infant-directed speech (IDS) than adult-directed speech (ADS). Yet...

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  • ManyBabies

    Home of the ManyBabies project

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