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Influence of eye gaze on spoken word processing: an ERP study with infants

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Child Development
Issue number3
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)842-853
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Eye gaze is an important communicative signal, both as mutual eye contact and as referential gaze to objects. To examine whether attention to speech versus nonspeech stimuli in 4- to 5-month-olds (n = 15) varies as a function of eye gaze, event-related brain potentials were used. Faces with mutual or averted gaze were presented in combination with forward- or backward-spoken words. Infants rapidly processed gaze and spoken words in combination. A late Slow Wave suggests an interaction of the 2 factors, separating backward-spoken word + direct gaze from all other conditions. An additional experiment (n = 15) extended the results to referential gaze. The current findings suggest that interactions between visual and auditory cues are present early in infancy.