SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months

Anne Fernald*, Virginia A. Marchman, Adriana Weisleder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

476 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research revealed both similarities and striking differences in early language proficiency among infants from a broad range of advantaged and disadvantaged families. English-learning infants (n = 48) were followed longitudinally from 18 to 24 months, using real-time measures of spoken language processing. The first goal was to track developmental changes in processing efficiency in relation to vocabulary learning in this diverse sample. The second goal was to examine differences in these crucial aspects of early language development in relation to family socioeconomic status (SES). The most important findings were that significant disparities in vocabulary and language processing efficiency were already evident at 18 months between infants from higher- and lower-SES families, and by 24 months there was a 6-month gap between SES groups in processing skills critical to language development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-248
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Science
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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