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Journal Article

Let's talk action: Infant-directed speech facilitates infants' action learning


Schreiner,  Melanie S.
Psychology of Language Department, Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany;
Leibniz-ScienceCampus Primate Cognition, Göttingen, Germany;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schreiner, M. S., van Schaik, J. E., Sucevic, J., Hunnius, S., & Meyer, M. (2020). Let's talk action: Infant-directed speech facilitates infants' action learning. Developmental Psychology, 56(9), 1623-1631. doi:10.1037/dev0001079.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-135F-6
Parents modulate their speech and their actions during infant-directed interactions, and these modulations facilitate infants' language and action learning, respectively. But do these behaviors and their benefits cross these modality boundaries? We investigated mothers' infant-directed speech and actions while they demonstrated the action-effects of 4 novel objects to their 14-month-old infants. Mothers (N = 35) spent the majority of the time either speaking or demonstrating the to-be-learned actions to their infant while hardly talking and acting at the same time. Moreover, mothers' infant-directed speech predicted infants' action learning success beyond the effect of infant-directed actions. Thus, mothers' speech modulations during naturalistic interactions do more than support infants' language learning; they also facilitate infants' action learning, presumably by directing and maintaining infants' attention toward the to-be learned actions.