UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Role of Audiovisual Speech in Fast-Mapping and Novel Word Retention in Monolingual and Bilingual 24-Month-Olds Weatherhead, Drew; Arredondo, Maria M.; Nácar Garcia, Loreto; Werker, Janet Feldman, 1951-


Three experiments examined the role of audiovisual speech on 24-month-old monolingual and bilinguals’ performance in a fast-mapping task. In all three experiments, toddlers were exposed to familiar trials which tested their knowledge of known word–referent pairs, disambiguation trials in which novel word–referent pairs were indirectly learned, and retention trials which probed their recognition of the newly-learned word–referent pairs. In Experiment 1 (n = 48), lip movements were present during familiar and disambiguation trials, but not retention trials. In Experiment 2 (n = 48), lip movements were present during all three trial types. In Experiment 3 (bilinguals only, n = 24), a still face with no lip movements was present in all three trial types. While toddlers succeeded in the familiar and disambiguation trials of every experiment, success in the retention trials was only found in Experiment 2. This work suggests that the extra-linguistic support provided by lip movements improved the learning and recognition of the novel words.

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