Looking while listening

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The “looking-while-listening” methodology uses real-time measures of the time course of young children’s gaze patterns in response to speech. This procedure is low in task demands and does not require automated eyetracking technology, similar to “preferential-looking” procedures. However, the looking-whilelistening methodology differs critically from preferential-looking procedures in the methods used for data reduction and analysis, yielding high-resolution measures of speech processing from moment to moment, rather than relying on summary measures of looking preference. Because children’s gaze patterns are time-locked to speech and coded frame-by-frame, each 5-min experiment response latencies can be coded with millisecond precision on multiple trials over multiple items, based on data from thousands of frames in each experiment. The meticulous procedures required in the collection, reduction, and multiple levels of analysis of such detailed data are demanding, but well worth the effort, revealing a dynamic and nuanced picture of young children’s developing skill in finding meaning in spoken language.


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