The program project is a longitudinal study on the development of language and gesture in typically developing children and in children with early brain injury. Participating families are visited three times a year in their homes. The study has already followed children from 14 months to 6 years of age, and we are planning to continue observations for another 5 years.
Administrator: Kristi Schonwald
Principal Investigators: Susan Goldin-Meadow, Janellen Huttenlocher, Susan Levine, Steven Small
Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC)
The Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC) brings together scientists and educators from Temple University, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to pursue the overarching goals of
SILC participants include researchers from cognitive science, psychology, computer science, education, and neuroscience, as well as practicing geoscientists and engineers who are particularly interested in spatial thinking in their fields, and teachers in the CPS.
Dr. Sian Beilock
Human Performance Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
Dr. Janellen Huttenlocher & Dr. Susan Levin
Center for Infant Studies, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
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Dr. Lisa Gershkoff-Stowe
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University
Emerging Process of Lexical Retrieval: A primary focus of my work is on how very young children become fast and efficient speakers of language. Specifically, I investigate how the emerging lexicon is organized, how it operates, and how it changes with vocabulary growth. With support from NIH, I am pursuing several lines of research. First, I have been collecting data on the sudden spurt in naming that occurs for most children near the end of the second year. During this time children show a temporary increase in naming errors that suggests a general fragility of early work retrieval processes. In addition, I am examining whether increased vocabulary growth is associated with changes in the processing of words that result from the everyday experience of hearing and saying many new words.
Gesture and Language: In a recent paper with Susan Goldin-Meadow, we simulated aspects of language creation by asking adults, naive to sign language, to describe a series of brief scenes on videotape to another person, using only gesture and no speech. We found that the discrete gestures adults invented to represent the semantic elements in a scene were placed in a consistent arrangement that did not reflect canonical English word order. Moreover, the same ordering was found across a variety of communicative and non-communicative contexts. We interpreted these results as suggesting that order is not driven solely by linguistic or communicative factors, but may be a more general property of human thought.
Dr. Jana Iverson
Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
The overall focus of my research program is the nature and development of the relationship between gesture and speech. Specifically I am interested in understanding the precursors of gesture-speech coupling in the early co-occurrence of vocal and motor behavior in infant sensorimotor activity, the developmental relationship between gesture and speech in children with normal language, the extent to which early gesture-speech links are sensitive to variation in input, and the nature of gesture-speech links in children with a variety of developmental disorders.
Dr. Asli Ozyurek
Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics
Dr. Steve Small
Human Neuroscience Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
Dr. Catherine So
Gesture and Language Lab, Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore