Face time:Effects of shyness and attention to faces on early word learning

Hilton, Matt and Twomey, Katherine and Westermann, Gert (2023) Face time:Effects of shyness and attention to faces on early word learning. Language Development Research. ISSN 2771-7976 (In Press)

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Previous research has shown that shyness affects children’s attention during the fast-mapping of novel words via disambiguation. The current study examined whether shyness also affects children’s attention when eye-gaze cues to novel word meanings are present. 20- to 26-month-old children’s (N = 31) gaze was recorded as they viewed videos in which an onscreen actor sat at a table on which one novel and two familiar objects appeared. The actor looked at and labeled one of the objects, using a novel word if the target object was novel. Overall, shyness was associated with a stronger preference for looking at the actor’s face, and less time looking at the object being labeled. These effects did not differ when the target object was novel or familiar, suggesting that shyness is related to attentional differences during object labeling generally, rather than specific processes involved in the disambiguation of novel words. No evidence was found of a relation between retention and shyness or attention during labeling.

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Journal Article
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Language Development Research
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Deposited On:
30 May 2023 15:50
In Press
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2023 23:54