Learning words from conversations

Learning words from conversations

Berkeley Early Learning Lab (UC Berkeley)

Who Can Participate

For babies aged 12-18 months who learn English as their first language and are located in the USA

What Happens

The study consists of a 5-minute vocabulary questionnaire for parents and a 10-minute video for babies. In the videos, either one or two people will be speaking and naming familiar and novel objects (sometimes novel objects will be named but hidden from the baby's view). Sometimes it will be two people talking to each other and sometimes just one person talking to themselves. We will measure where babies look when they hear the names of the novel objects.

What We're Studying

We want to understand whether reciprocal social interactions, such as conversations, help babies realize that words may refer to things they cannot see. In this study, we explore a part of this question and look into the link between babies' preference to learn from dialogues over monologues and their ability to imagine a hidden object and learn its name (we already know that babies around 15 months can do this). If such a link exists, it will help us understand how humans begin to use speech to learn information about things they had never experienced (people we have not met, places we have not seen).


15 minutes


The compensation for the study is $5 dollars. We will send a $5 Amazon.com gift card within 2 weeks after the study is complete. To be eligible for compensation, the following criteria must be met: (1) your child must be in the age range for this study and be learning English as their first language; (2) you need to submit a valid video consent statement; (3) we need to see that there is a child with you in the study participation video. One child can only participate in the entire study sequence once.

This study is conducted by Elena Luchkina (contact: elenaluchkina@berkeley.edu).

Would you like to participate in this study?