Current York BabyLab Projects

Animals books
Production and perception

This study aims to replicate a study we ran a few years ago in Wales (see DePaolis, Vihman and Keren-Portnoy, 2011. For a recent replication in Italian, see Majorano, Vihman and DePaolis, 2013). It investigates the way they listen to the speech they hear. We are interested in whether babies at this age notice speech that contains the sounds they regularly produce more than speech that contains sounds that they rarely produce.

Read more
Effects of input

This study, funded by the ESRC, aims to investigate how the way that parents talk to their babies can affect babies’ language development. The study involves two different experiments. In the first experiment we are working with babies aged 6 months to see how parental input might have an effect on what sort of words babies pick up in their first few months. In the second experiment we are working with babies aged 11.5 months to see how parents’ reading to their babies might help the babies learn new words.

Read more
Loss of ‘universal listening’

Doctoral research by Mariam Dar

Studies have shown that infants in the first months of life can distinguish most of the speech sounds used in different languages, whereas adults have a great deal of trouble learning to hear differences between sounds that don’t occur in their language. The shift away from the ‘universal listening’ of infants seems to occur already toward the end of the first year of life.

Read more
Memory consolidation in infancy

The study is designed to investigate the nature of word learning in infants. Studies have shown that when adults are trained on a novel task, their memory may at first be vulnerable to interference from other learning; a period of several hours free of such interference is needed to ensure ‘consolidation’, or stabilization of the memory; sleep leads to further improvements in remembering, without a need for further training.

Read more