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Concurrent Relations between Face Scanning and Language: A Cross-Syndrome Infant Study.

D'Souza D, D'Souza H, Johnson MH, Karmiloff-Smith A - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: As expected, we found that TD children with a relatively large vocabulary made more fixations to the mouth region of the incongruent face than elsewhere.These findings suggest that, at some point in development, different processes or strategies relating to visual attention are involved in language acquisition in DS, FXS, and WS.It also raises the possibility that syndrome-specific interventions should include an early focus on efficient face-scanning behaviour.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Typically developing (TD) infants enhance their learning of spoken language by observing speakers' mouth movements. Given the fact that word learning is seriously delayed in most children with neurodevelopmental disorders, we hypothesized that this delay partly results from differences in visual face scanning, e.g., focusing attention away from the mouth. To test this hypothesis, we used an eye tracker to measure visual attention in 95 infants and toddlers with Down syndrome (DS), fragile X syndrome (FXS), and Williams syndrome (WS), and compared their data to 25 chronological- and mental-age matched 16-month-old TD controls. We presented participants with two talking faces (one on each side of the screen) and a sound (/ga/). One face (the congruent face) mouthed the syllable that the participants could hear (i.e., /ga/), while the other face (the incongruent face) mouthed a different syllable (/ba/) from the one they could hear. As expected, we found that TD children with a relatively large vocabulary made more fixations to the mouth region of the incongruent face than elsewhere. However, toddlers with FXS or WS who had a relatively large receptive vocabulary made more fixations to the eyes (rather than the mouth) of the incongruent face. In DS, by contrast, fixations to the speaker's overall face (rather than to her eyes or mouth) predicted vocabulary size. These findings suggest that, at some point in development, different processes or strategies relating to visual attention are involved in language acquisition in DS, FXS, and WS. This knowledge may help further explain why language is delayed in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. It also raises the possibility that syndrome-specific interventions should include an early focus on efficient face-scanning behaviour.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

An example of the visual stimuli used in the experiment, including the positioning and sizes in visual angle of the Areas-Of-Interest (eyes, face, and mouth).
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pone.0139319.g001: An example of the visual stimuli used in the experiment, including the positioning and sizes in visual angle of the Areas-Of-Interest (eyes, face, and mouth).

Mentions: The design was adapted from [14] and [51]. Two adult female faces, with moving lips, were presented side-by-side on a screen (Fig 1), with loudspeakers placed behind it. There were two trials. In each trial, the participants were presented with two talking faces (one on each side of the screen) and a sound. In one trial, the left-hand face mouthed the syllable /ba/ and the right-hand face mouthed the syllable /ga/, while the sound /ga/ was simultaneously heard. In the other trial, the left-hand face mouthed the syllable /ga/ and the right-hand face mouthed the syllable /ba/, while the sound /ga/ was heard throughout. Thus, in each trial, one speaking face was congruent (i.e., the visual stimulus matched the auditory stimulus) and the other speaking face was incongruent (i.e., there was a mismatch between the visual stimulus and the auditory stimulus). The two trials (i.e., the position of the faces) were counterbalanced. There were two other conditions, in which the sound /ba/ (rather than /ga/) was heard. Thus, all participants took part in four counterbalanced conditions in total. However, the visual /ga/ and the auditory /ba/ produce an illusory percept (the McGurk effect) that will be reported elsewhere.


Concurrent Relations between Face Scanning and Language: A Cross-Syndrome Infant Study.

D'Souza D, D'Souza H, Johnson MH, Karmiloff-Smith A - PLoS ONE (2015)

An example of the visual stimuli used in the experiment, including the positioning and sizes in visual angle of the Areas-Of-Interest (eyes, face, and mouth).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4591359&req=5

pone.0139319.g001: An example of the visual stimuli used in the experiment, including the positioning and sizes in visual angle of the Areas-Of-Interest (eyes, face, and mouth).
Mentions: The design was adapted from [14] and [51]. Two adult female faces, with moving lips, were presented side-by-side on a screen (Fig 1), with loudspeakers placed behind it. There were two trials. In each trial, the participants were presented with two talking faces (one on each side of the screen) and a sound. In one trial, the left-hand face mouthed the syllable /ba/ and the right-hand face mouthed the syllable /ga/, while the sound /ga/ was simultaneously heard. In the other trial, the left-hand face mouthed the syllable /ga/ and the right-hand face mouthed the syllable /ba/, while the sound /ga/ was heard throughout. Thus, in each trial, one speaking face was congruent (i.e., the visual stimulus matched the auditory stimulus) and the other speaking face was incongruent (i.e., there was a mismatch between the visual stimulus and the auditory stimulus). The two trials (i.e., the position of the faces) were counterbalanced. There were two other conditions, in which the sound /ba/ (rather than /ga/) was heard. Thus, all participants took part in four counterbalanced conditions in total. However, the visual /ga/ and the auditory /ba/ produce an illusory percept (the McGurk effect) that will be reported elsewhere.

Bottom Line: As expected, we found that TD children with a relatively large vocabulary made more fixations to the mouth region of the incongruent face than elsewhere.These findings suggest that, at some point in development, different processes or strategies relating to visual attention are involved in language acquisition in DS, FXS, and WS.It also raises the possibility that syndrome-specific interventions should include an early focus on efficient face-scanning behaviour.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Typically developing (TD) infants enhance their learning of spoken language by observing speakers' mouth movements. Given the fact that word learning is seriously delayed in most children with neurodevelopmental disorders, we hypothesized that this delay partly results from differences in visual face scanning, e.g., focusing attention away from the mouth. To test this hypothesis, we used an eye tracker to measure visual attention in 95 infants and toddlers with Down syndrome (DS), fragile X syndrome (FXS), and Williams syndrome (WS), and compared their data to 25 chronological- and mental-age matched 16-month-old TD controls. We presented participants with two talking faces (one on each side of the screen) and a sound (/ga/). One face (the congruent face) mouthed the syllable that the participants could hear (i.e., /ga/), while the other face (the incongruent face) mouthed a different syllable (/ba/) from the one they could hear. As expected, we found that TD children with a relatively large vocabulary made more fixations to the mouth region of the incongruent face than elsewhere. However, toddlers with FXS or WS who had a relatively large receptive vocabulary made more fixations to the eyes (rather than the mouth) of the incongruent face. In DS, by contrast, fixations to the speaker's overall face (rather than to her eyes or mouth) predicted vocabulary size. These findings suggest that, at some point in development, different processes or strategies relating to visual attention are involved in language acquisition in DS, FXS, and WS. This knowledge may help further explain why language is delayed in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. It also raises the possibility that syndrome-specific interventions should include an early focus on efficient face-scanning behaviour.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus