The development of directedness and canonical babbling in prelinguistic vocalizations and their relationship to later language measures
Hutcheson, Sarah Anne
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The purpose of the present study was to examine the development of gaze directedness of vocalizations and canonical babbling in infancy and their possible relationships with later expressive language measures in toddlerhood. As part of an ongoing longitudinal study, ten typically developing infants were recorded in a laboratory setting from 5 to 30 months at weekly to monthly intervals. The directedness of vocalizations, i.e., whether the vocalizations were undirected or directed toward a person or object, was ascertained at 6 and 9 months using muted video recordings. The age of onset of canonical babbling, or the production of well-formed consonant vowel sequences, was also determined. These results will be compared to scores obtained at 18 and 30 months of age on standardized expressive language and vocabulary measures. It was expected that vocalizations directed toward a person or object would increase from 6 to 9 months of age as the infants’ communication became more intentional. Furthermore, based on results of previous research, a positive correlation between person-directed vocalizations and expressive language scores and vocabulary size was expected. However, the prediction was neutral regarding the correlation between earlier canonical babbling onset and those same measures as previous research had obtained contradictory results.