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Infants' Selectively Pay Attention to the Information They Receive from a Native Speaker of Their Language

Abstract : From the first moments of their life, infants show a preference for their native language, as well as toward speakers with whom they share the same language. This preference appears to have broad consequences in various domains later on, supporting group affiliations and collaborative actions in children. Here, we propose that infants' preference for native speakers of their language also serves a further purpose, specifically allowing them to efficiently acquire culture specific knowledge via social learning. By selectively attending to informants who are native speakers of their language and who probably also share the same cultural background with the infant, young learners can maximize the possibility to acquire cultural knowledge. To test whether infants would preferably attend the information they receive from a speaker of their native language, we familiarized 12-month-old infants with a native and a foreign speaker, and then presented them with movies where each of the speakers silently gazed toward unfamiliar objects. At test, infants' looking behavior to the two objects alone was measured. Results revealed that infants preferred to look longer at the object presented by the native speaker. Strikingly, the effect was replicated also with 5-month-old infants, indicating an early development of such preference. These findings provide evidence that young infants pay more attention to the information presented by a person with whom they share the same language. This selectivity can serve as a basis for efficient social learning by influencing how infants' allocate attention between potential sources of information in their environment.
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https://hal-univ-paris10.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01478441
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 10:45:49 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:54:30 AM

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Hanna Marno, Bahia Guellaï, Yamil Vidal, Julia Franzoi, Marina Nespor, et al.. Infants' Selectively Pay Attention to the Information They Receive from a Native Speaker of Their Language. Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers, 2016, 7, pp.1150. ⟨10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01150⟩. ⟨hal-01478441⟩

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