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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

Proportion of fixations on the mouth of the Incongruent face relative to the mouths of both Incongruent and Congruent faces, organised by Group (TD control, DS, FXS, WS).
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pone.0139319.g013: Proportion of fixations on the mouth of the Incongruent face relative to the mouths of both Incongruent and Congruent faces, organised by Group (TD control, DS, FXS, WS).

Mentions: FCMOUTH was a significant predictor of receptive language in toddlers and accounted for 20% of its variability in the TD control group, B = 235.23, SE B = 105.04, β = .45 (R2 = .20, p = .037; Fig 13). This indicates that the more fixations to the mouth in the Incongruent face, relative to the mouths in both faces, the greater is the child’s receptive vocabulary (for every .1, the TD child understands an extra 24 words on average). FCMOUTH did not predict receptive language in any of the atypical groups (all, p > .10).


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)

Proportion of fixations on the mouth of the Incongruent face relative to the mouths of both Incongruent and Congruent faces, organised by Group (TD control, DS, FXS, WS).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0139319.g013: Proportion of fixations on the mouth of the Incongruent face relative to the mouths of both Incongruent and Congruent faces, organised by Group (TD control, DS, FXS, WS).
Mentions: FCMOUTH was a significant predictor of receptive language in toddlers and accounted for 20% of its variability in the TD control group, B = 235.23, SE B = 105.04, β = .45 (R2 = .20, p = .037; Fig 13). This indicates that the more fixations to the mouth in the Incongruent face, relative to the mouths in both faces, the greater is the child’s receptive vocabulary (for every .1, the TD child understands an extra 24 words on average). FCMOUTH did not predict receptive language in any of the atypical groups (all, p > .10).

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