We are grateful to the infants and their families who participated, and to the Universitätsfrauenklinik and the Klinikum St. Georg in Leipzig for assistance with infants’ recruitment. E.P. was funded by a Humboldt Research Fellowship and by a grant from Calabria Region, Italy. Many thanks to Tobias Grossmann, Thomas C. Gunter, Stefanie Hoehl, and Maren Schmidt-Kassow for comments and suggestions, and to Anna Andreas, Daniela Danz, Maria Poessel, Maria Schmidt, and Irka Wetzig for testing.
Influence of Eye Gaze on Spoken Word Processing: An ERP Study With Infants
Article first published online: 9 MAR 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Child Development © 2011 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 82, Issue 3, pages 842–853, May/June 2011
How to Cite
Parise, E., Handl, A., Palumbo, L. and Friederici, A. D. (2011), Influence of Eye Gaze on Spoken Word Processing: An ERP Study With Infants. Child Development, 82: 842–853. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01573.x
- Issue published online: 5 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 9 MAR 2011
Eye gaze is an important communicative signal, both as mutual eye contact and as referential gaze to objects. To examine whether attention to speech versus nonspeech stimuli in 4- to 5-month-olds (n = 15) varies as a function of eye gaze, event-related brain potentials were used. Faces with mutual or averted gaze were presented in combination with forward- or backward-spoken words. Infants rapidly processed gaze and spoken words in combination. A late Slow Wave suggests an interaction of the 2 factors, separating backward-spoken word + direct gaze from all other conditions. An additional experiment (n = 15) extended the results to referential gaze. The current findings suggest that interactions between visual and auditory cues are present early in infancy.