Get access

Separable Attentional Predictors of Language Outcome

Authors


Correspondence should be sent to Brenda Salley, Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045. E-mail: brendasalley@ku.edu.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the combined influences of infants' attention and use of social cues in the prediction of their language outcomes. This longitudinal study measured infants' visual attention on a distractibility task (11 months), joint attention (14 months), and language outcomes (word–object association, 14 months; MBCDI vocabulary size and multi-word productions at 18 months of age). Path analyses were conducted for two different language outcomes. The analysis for vocabulary revealed unique direct prediction from infants' visual attention on a distractibility task (i.e., maintaining attention to a target event in the presence of competing events) and joint attention (i.e., more frequent response to tester's bids for attention) for larger vocabulary size at outcome; this model accounted for 48% of variance in vocabulary, after controlling for baseline communication status (assessed at 11 months). The analysis for multi-word productions yielded direct effects for infants' distractibility, but not joint attention; this model accounted for 45% of variance in multi-word productions, again after controlling for baseline communication status. Indirect effects were not significant in either model. Results are discussed in light of the unique predictive role of attentional factors and social/attention cues for emerging language.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary