Postponed: Promoting Infants’ language development in socio-economically diverse populations

10th March 2020 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Seminar

Speaker: Michelle McGillon, University of Warwick

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room K/L

Please note that this seminar has been postponed


Seminar Abstract


Children from disadvantaged families tend to have limited language skills compared to their advantaged peers. This social gradient emerges early and has long term consequences for academic achievement, economic success and wellbeing. This talk will focus on two RCTs to promote infant language learning through caregiver contingent talk in this group. Contingent talk refers to a style of communication whereby the caregiver talks about what is in their infant’s current focus of attention. In the first study, 142 11-month-olds and their caregivers were randomly allocated to a contingent talk intervention or a dental health control. This intervention was effective in promoting caregiver contingent talk and this benefited lower SES infants’ language in the short term but not one year post intervention. In the second RCT, 156 11-month-olds and their caregivers were randomly allocated to a book-sharing contingent talk intervention or a control condition where families were given the same books but no training. Book-sharing is a tangible activity that tends to generate high quality talk with infants. However, it is culturally alien to many. This talk will explore how this trade-off plays out for child language outcomes. Finally, both studies will be considered in the broader context of different types of parenting interventions during the infancy period.


About the Speaker


Michelle is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Warwick. Her interests include first language acquisition, The development of communicative skills in infancy, individual differences in early word learning, caregiver-infant interaction, Socio-economic status (SES), school readiness, early literacy development

She is interested in how babies learn to talk. There are large individual differences in when and how quickly children learn language. Her research seeks to understand these early differences by considering the interaction of infant, caregiver and environmental factors using on experimental, observational and training study designs.