The Visual World Paradigm in Children with Spoken Language Disorders

The Visual World Paradigm in Children with Spoken Language Disorders

Llorenç Andreu (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain) and Mònica Sanz-Torrent (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1005-5.ch013
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Abstract

Eye movements have become a commonly used response measure in studies of spoken language processing. These studies are included in the so-called ‘visual world paradigm' in which participants' eye movements are monitored during scene viewing in language comprehension and production activities. In this chapter the most important aspects for running eye-tracking studies in children are revised. Developmental studies using eye movements have increased in the last ten years from babies to adolescents. However, there are only a handful of papers based on the ‘visual world paradigm' that analyze the spoken language in children with language disorders. These studies using eye movements have explored spoken word recognition; verb argument and thematic relations; and narrative comprehension and production. Results has proven eye tracker to be an effective tool for understanding language representation and processing in children with language disorders.
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Introduction

Eye movements have been one of the most widely used response measures in psycholinguistic studies of reading for more than a century (see Henderson & Ferreira, 2004; Rayner, 1998). In contrast, it is only within the last two decades that eye movements have become a commonly used response measure in studies of spoken language processing (Tanenhaus, 2007). These studies are included in the so-called ‘visual world paradigm’ (Cooper, 1974; Tanenhaus, Spivey-Knowlton, Eberhard & Sedivy, 1995). In these studies, participants’ eye movements are monitored during scene viewing in language comprehension and production activities. When people are simultaneously presented with spoken language and a visual field containing elements semantically related to the informative items of speech, they tend to spontaneously direct their line of sight to those elements that are most closely related to the meaning of the language currently heard (e.g. fixating on a lion upon hearing part or all of the word ‘lion’). On the other hand, in language production, when speakers describe actions or events based on a visual image, they focus their visual attention on each element before producing specific language about it (e.g. fixating on a zebra upon say the sentence ‘The zebra runs away’ while watching a scene of the African savannah).

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