Some Current Projects at the Infant Lab
How does premature birth affect linguistic abilities?
Do preemies learn differently?
WE NEED PRETERM INFANT VOLUNTEERS!
How do babies learn the sound system of their language?
Learning Sound Categories
Since languages do not all use the same set of sounds, babies have to figure out which sounds are important in their language and where these sounds can occur in words. We're exploring whether babies can learn rules about where different sounds can occur in words. Babies hear a sequence of words in which only certain consonants occur in the beginning. After hearing these words, babies hear new words which do or do not follow the same patterns. We measure how long babies listen to each type of new word. We have found that 12 month olds can learn these complicated patterns after just two minutes of listening! Even 8-9 month olds can learn them with a little more training.
How do babies recognize words in fluent speech?
Sometimes when babies begin to talk, they don’t pronounce all the sounds in a word correctly (for example, saying “fish” like “fiss”). Does this mean that they don’t know how words are supposed to sound? In our studies we test whether babies can tell if you mispronounce the name of an object that they know. We show 18-20 month olds pairs of objects, some of which are familiar objects (like a bird) and some of which are unfamiliar (like an hourglass). Then we ask them to look at one (“Find the bird!”), but sometimes we mispronounce the word (“Find the birf!”). We have found that babies can tell when you mispronounce something and the beginning of the word is different. So even if babies say words incorrectly themselves sometimes, they know what the words are supposed to sound like. We are currently testing to see if they can tell when the ending sound of the word is different.
How do babies integrate auditory and visual events?
Watch what you say. Your child does!
Recent and Selected Publications
Katherine S.White, Eiling Yee, Sheila Blumstein, James L. Morgan (2013). Adults show less sensitivity to phonetic detail in unfamiliar words, too. Journal of Memory and Language, 68, 362- 378.
Naomi H. Feldman, Emily B. Myers, Katherine S. White, Thomas L. Griffiths, & James L. Morgan (in press). Word-Level information influences phonetic learning in adults and infants , Cognition .
Tenenbaum, E.J., Shah, R.J., Sobel, D.M., Malle, B.F., & Morgan, J. L. (in press). Increased focus on the mouth among infants in the first year of life: A longitudinal eye-tracking study, Infancy.
Erin Conwell & James L. Morgan (2012): Is It a Noun or Is It a Verb? Resolving the Ambicategoricality Problem, Language Learning and Development, 8:2, 87-112. Peter W. Jusczyk Award (Best Paper, 2012).
Ren, J.,& Morgan, J.L. (2012). The devil in the details: Underspecification in infants' early lexical representations. Proceedings of the 36th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 500-511). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Molina, G.C., & Morgan, J.L. (2011, October). Preterm and Full-term Infants’ Sensitivity to Permissible Native-Language Sound Sequences. Presented at the 37th New England Conference on Perinatal Research, Chatham, MA.
Ostrand, R., Blumstein, S. E., & Morgan, J. L. (2011). When hearing lips and seeing voices becomes perceiving speech: Auditory-visual integration in lexical access. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1376-1381). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Ren, J.,& Morgan, J.L. (2011). Sub-Segmental Details In Early Lexical Representation of ConsonantsProceedings of the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS XVII), August, 2011, Hong Kong, China..
Ren, J.,& Morgan, J.L. (2011). Developmental Continuity in Infants' Early Lexical Representations. Proceedings of the 47th Chicago Linguistic Society Annual Meeting, April 2011, Chicago, IL.
Naomi Feldman, Emily Myers, Katherine White, Thomas Griffiths, and James Morgan (2011). Learners Use Word-Level Statistics in Phonetic Category Acquisition. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press
Severine Millotte, James Morgan, Sylvie Margules, Savita Bernal, Michel Dutat, Anne Christophe (2010). Phrasal prosody constrains word segmentation in French 16-month-olds. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics, 9-2(2010)/ 10-1 (2011), 67- 86.
Jie Ren, Liqun Gao & James L. Morgan (2010). Mandarin Speakers' Knowledge of the Sonority Sequencing Principle. The XX Colloquium of Generative Grammar, March 2010, Barcelona, Spain
Song, J.Y., Demuth, K., & Morgan, J.L. (2010). Effects of the acoustic properties of infant-directed speech on infant word recognition. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128(1), 389-400.
Bortfeld, H., & Morgan, J. L. (2010). Is early word-form processing stress-full? How natural variability supports recognition. Cognitive Pyschology, 60, 241-266.
Feldman, N. H., Griffiths, T. L., and Morgan, J. L. (2009). "The influence of categories on perception: Explaining the perceptual magnet effect as optimal statistical inference". Psychological Review, 116(4), 752-782.
Ko, Eon-Suk, Melanie Soderstrom, and James Morgan (2009) Development of perceptual sensitivity to extrinsic vowel duration in infants learning American English, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 126(5).
Feldman, N. H., Griffiths, T. L., & Morgan, J. L. (2009). Learning phonetic categories by learning a lexicon. In N. A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2208-2213). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Melanie Soderstom, Erin Conwell, Naomi Feldman, & James Morgan. (2009) The learner as statistician: three principles of computational success in language acquisition. Developmental Science, 12, 409-411.
Molina, G.C., & Morgan, J.L. (2008). The voicing distinction in Spanish word-initial labial stops: A prelude to what Spanish- learning infants can reveal about native- language phonetic category acquisition. ATINER International Conference on Literature, Language and Linguistics, Athens.
Soderstrom, M., Blossom, M., Foygel, I., & Morgan, J. L.,(2008). Acoustical cues and grammatical units in speech to two preverbal infants. Journal of Child Language,35, Issue 04, 689-902..
Soderstrom, M. (2008). Early perception-late comprehension of grammar? The case of verbal -s: a response to de Villers & Johnson, 2007. Journal of Child Language,35, Issue 03, 671-676.
White, K. S., & Morgan, J. L. (2008). Sub-segmental detail in early lexical representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 114-132.
White, K. S., Peperkamp, S., Kirk, C., & Morgan, J. L. (2008). Rapid acquisition of phonological alternations by infants. Cognition, 107, 238- 265.
Singh, L., White, K, S. & Morgan, J. L. (2008). Building a word-form lexicon in the face of variable input: Influences of pitch and amplitude on early spoken word recognition Language Learning and Development, 4, 157 - 178.
Singh, L. (2008) Influences of high and low variability on infant word recognition. Cognition, 106, 833-870.
Conwell, E., & Balas, B. J. (2007). Assessing the efficacy of transitional probabilities for learning syntactic categories. In D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 893-898). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Feldman, N. H., & Griffiths, T. L. (2007). A rational account of the perceptual magnet effect. In D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 257-262). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Soderstrom, M. (2007). Beyond Babytalk: Re-evaluating the nature and content of speech input to preverbal infants. Developmental Review, 27, 501-532.
Conwell, E. & Morgan, J. (2007) Resolving Grammatical Category Ambiguity in Acquisition. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press
Tenenbaum, E. & Morgan, J. (2007). Racing to Segment? Top-Down vs. Bottom Up in Infant Segmentation. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press
Soderstrom, M., White, K.S., Conwell, E. & Morgan, J.L.(2007) Receptive grammatical knowledge of familiar content words and inflection in 16-month-olds. Infancy, 12, 1-29.
Soderstrom, M., & Morgan, J.L. (2007) Twenty-two-month-olds discriminate fluent from disfluent adult-directed speech. Developmental Science, 10, 641-653.
Conwell, E. & Demuth, K. (2007). Early syntactic productivity: Evidence from dative shift . Cognition, 103, 163-179.
Blossom, M., & Morgan, J.L. (2006) Does the face say what the mouth says? A study of infants' sensitivity to visual prosody. In D. Bamman, T. Magnitskaia, & C. Zaller (Eds.) Proceedings of the 30th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press
White, K.S., Morgan, J.L., & Wier, L. (2005) When is a dar a car? Effects of mispronunciation and referential context on sound-meaning mappings. In A. Brogos, R. Clark-Cotton, & S. Ha (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Bortfeld, H., Morgan, J., Golinkoff, R., & Rathbun, K. (2005). Mommy and me: Familiar names help launch babies into speech stream segmentation. Psychological Science, 16, 298-304.
Singh, L., Morgan, J., White, K. (2004). Preference and processing: The role of speech affect in early spoken word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, Vol 51(2), 173-189.
Gout, A., Christophe, A., Morgan, J.L. (2004). Phonological phrase boundaries constrain lexical access II. Infant data. Journal of Memory and Language, 51, 548-567.
Christophe, A., Gout, A., Peperkamp, S., & Morgan, J.L. (2003). Discovering words in the continuous speech stream: The role of prosody. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 585-598.
Anderson, J., Morgan, J., White, K. (2003). A Statistical Basis for Speech Sound Discrimination. Language and Speech, Vol 46 (2-3), 155-182.
Soderstrom, M., Seidl, A., Kemler Nelson, D. G., & Jusczyk, P.W. (2003). The prosodic bootstrapping of phrases: Evidence from prelinguistic infants. Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 249-267. (work done at Johns Hopkins University)
Aslin, R.N., Werker, J.F., & Morgan, J.L. (2002). Innate phonetic boundaries revisited. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 112, 1257-1260.
Singh, L., Morgan, J. L., & Best, C. (2002). Infants' listening preferences: Baby talk or happy talk? *Infancy, 3, 365-394.
Foley, C., Lust, B., Battin, D., Koehne, A., White, K . (2000). On the acquisition of an indefinite determiner: Evidence for unselective binding. Proceedings of the 24th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development
Shi, R., Werker, J. F., & Morgan, J. L. (1999). Newborn infants' sensitivity to perceptual cues to lexical and grammatical words. Cognition, B11-21.
Bortfeld, H.,& Morgan, J.L. (1999) Interaction of varieties of stress in infant-directed speech, International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 14.
Mattys, S.L., Jusczyk, P.W., Luce, P.D.,& Morgan, J.L. (1999) Phonotactic and Prosodic Effects on Word Segmentation in Infants. Cognitive Psychology, 38, 465-494.
Shi, R., Morgan, J. L., & Allopenna, P. (1998). Phonological and acoustic bases for earliest grammatical category assignment: a cross-linguistic perspective . Journal of Child Language, 25, 169-201.
Morgan, J. L. & Demuth, K. D. (Eds.) (1996). Signal to syntax: Bootstrapping from speech to grammar in early language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Morgan, J. L. (1996). Prosody and the roots of parsing. Language and Cognitive Processes, 11, 69-106.
Morgan, J.L. (1996). Finding relations between input and outcome in language acquisition. Developmental Psychology, 32, 556-559.
Morgan, J. L. (1996). A rhythmic bias in preverbal speech segmentation. Journal of Memory and Language, 35, 666-689.
Morgan, J. L., Bonamo, K. M., & Travis, L. L. (1995). Negative evidence on negative evidence. Developmental Psychology, 31, 180-197.
Morgan, J. L., & Saffran, J. R. (1995). Emerging integration of sequential and suprasegmental information in preverbal speech segmentation. Child Development, 66, 911-936.
Morgan, J. L. (1994). Converging measures of speech segmentation in preverbal infants . Infant Behavior and Development, 17, 389-403.