Learning in Complex Environments: The Effects of Background Speech on Early Word Learning.

TitleLearning in Complex Environments: The Effects of Background Speech on Early Word Learning.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMcMillan BTM, Saffran JR
JournalChild Dev
Volume87
Issue6
Pagination1841-1855
Date Published2016 Nov
ISSN1467-8624
Abstract

Although most studies of language learning take place in quiet laboratory settings, everyday language learning occurs under noisy conditions. The current research investigated the effects of background speech on word learning. Both younger (22- to 24-month-olds; n = 40) and older (28- to 30-month-olds; n = 40) toddlers successfully learned novel label-object pairings when target speech was 10 dB louder than background speech but not when the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was 5 dB. Toddlers (28- to 30-month-olds; n = 26) successfully learned novel words with a 5-dB SNR when they initially heard the labels embedded in fluent speech without background noise, before they were mapped to objects. The results point to both challenges and protective factors that may impact language learning in complex auditory environments.

DOI10.1111/cdev.12559
Alternate JournalChild Dev
PubMed ID27441911
PubMed Central IDPMC5113671
Grant ListP30 HD003352 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R37 HD037466 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States