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Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Pupillometry holds great promise as a tool for infant language research but has not yet been used to probe word recognition. The goal of the described study was to design a functioning method that can later be used to test the possibility of using pupil dilation as a gauge of word recognition in 11-month-olds. To do this, we used the methods of an existing study (The Role of Accentual Pattern in Early Lexical Representation, Vihman, Nakai, DePaolis, & Hallé 2004) with modifications. Our method ran a one-sided head turn preference paradigm with the addition of an eye tracker for pupil data collection. Seven infant participants were tested, with adjustments made to the testing setup and data analysis methods after each. The literature provided little guidance for data analysis, so several analysis methods were attempted and found unsuccessful. Ultimately, it was found that maximum pupil dilation is generally greater following words a baby is likely to know than rare words. In addition, a baseline phase is necessary to establish meaningful criteria for comparison. We recommend that a full investigative study be performed using the methods and changes we have outlined here. This study has laid some of the groundwork for the investigation of pupillometry as a tool for infant language research.
Vinyard, Amy, "Pupillometry as a test of infant word recognition" (2018). Masters Theses. 581.