Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Visual preference as a test of infant word comprehension

  • J. Steven Reznick (a1)

Three experiments explored the usefulness of a visual preference technique for assessing word comprehension in infants. Pairs of slides were presented, and visual fixation to each recorded. The parent (in Experiments 1 and 2) or the experimenter (in Experiment 3) then prompted the child with the name of one of the slides (“Find the ——,” “Do you see the ——?”), and visual fixation to each was recorded again. Percentage fixation to the picture matching the word referent following the prompt question was compared to initial preference for that picture, providing a measure of the acceptability of the picture as a word referent, independent of its initial salience.

The first experiment demonstrated increases in comprehension from 8–14 and 14–20 months. The second experiment established longitudinal stability of comprehension from 14 to 20 months. Word comprehension scores were related to parent report of vocabulary knowledge and difficulty of words. The final experiment measured 1-week test-retest reliability of the word comprehension score at 14 and 20 months and replicated the effect of word difficulty. Methodological and theoretical implications of these results are discussed, in particular, the profound effect of stimulus salience and the lack of sex differences in word comprehension.

Corresponding author
Department of Psychology, Box 11-A Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

E. V. Clark , & B. F. Hecht (1983). Comprehension, production, and language acquisition. Annual Review of Psychology, 34, 325349.

K. A. Clarke-Stewart (1973). Interactions between mothers and their young children: Characteristics and consequences. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. 38 (6–7, Serial No. 153).

L. B. Cohen (1972). Attention-getting and attention-holding processes of infant visual preferences. Child Development, 43, 869879.

K. Nelson (1973). Structure and strategy in learning to talk. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 38, (1–2, Serial no. 149).

N. D. Reppucci (1971). Parental education, sex differences, and performance on cognitive tasks among two-year-old children. Developmental Psychology, 4, 248253.

F. F. Schachter , E. Shore , R. Hodapp , S. Chalfin , & C. Bundy (1978). Do girls talk earlier? Mean length of utterance in toddlers. Developmental Psychology, 14, 388392.

D. C Thomas , J. J. Campos , D. W. Shucard , D. Ramsay , & J. Shucard (1981). Semantic comprehension in infancy: A signal detection analysis. Child Development, 52, 798803.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 12 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 178 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.