Postural developments modulate children’s visual access to social information

AbstractThe ability to process social information is a critical component of children’s early language and cognitive development. However, as children reach their first birthday, they begin to locomote themselves, dramatically affecting their visual access to this information. How do these postural and locomotor changes affect children’s access to the social information relevant for word-learning? Here, we explore this question by using head-mounted cameras to record 36 infants’ (8-16 months of age) egocentric visual perspective and use computer vision algorithms to estimate the proportion of faces and hands in infants’ environments. We find that infants’ posture and orientation to their caregiver modulates their access to social information, confirming previous work that suggests motoric developments play a significant role in the emergence of children’s linguistic and social capacities. We suggest that the combined use of head-mounted cameras and the application of new computer vision techniques is a promising avenue for understanding the statistics of infants’ visual and linguistic experience.

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