Our research focuses on the origins of communication and language in infancy and early childhood. Most of our studies involve children who are learning English or Spanish as a first language, or children learning both English and Spanish at the same time. In our newest studies, we are collaborating with researchers at UC Davis to explore real-time language processing in deaf or hearing children who are learning American Sign Language (ASL).
Since our research explores fundamental questions about the development of communication and language, we rely on several different kinds of research designs and procedures, ranging from engaging but carefully controlled experimental studies in our laboratories to naturalistic studies of parent-infant communication based on home observations in the community. Our research is not clinical in nature, and we do not do assessments of individual infants; rather, our goal is to understand how language abilities emerge in young children and how early language processing skills relate to children's developing linguistic and cognitive abilities later in life.