Language and visual object recognition are two domains of human intelligence that have wide impact on all cognitive systems. Previous research suggests that attention to object shape is a strong predictor of early noun learning and that young children who are delayed in early language learning show attention to shape in noun learning tasks and also deficits in the visual recognition of common objects. These previous findings suggest developmental connections between early lexical development and visual object recognition. The overall objective of this application is to characterize this relation in 18 to 30 month old whose early language is progressing at normative rates and also in children whose early noun learning is progressing more slowly and who are risk for later language learning and language processing deficits. The rationale for doing this research is that it will lead to a deeper understanding of the interdependencies between early language learning, language delay, and developmental changes in visual object recognition. The studies will provide new developmental benchmark measure of visual object recognition and a fine-grained description of the development of visual object recognition in relation to early noun learning in typically developing and language delayed children.
Relevance Children who are slow to learn and use language are at risk for significant difficulties in language learning, in language processing, and in later school learning. The proposed research focuses on the earliest noticeable language delays in 18- to 30-month old children and the inter-relations between early noun learning and developmental changes in visual object recognition and methods for enhancing language learning. The work is relevant to public health in that it may aid in early diagnosis and early remediation of these difficulties.
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