Online data collection methods are expanding the ease and access of developmental research for researchers and participants alike. While its popularity among developmental scientists has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, its potential goes beyond just a means for safe, socially distanced data collection. In particular, advances in video conferencing software has enabled researchers to engage in face-to-face interactions with participants from nearly any location at any time. Due to the novelty of these methods, however, many researchers still remain uncertain about (...) the differences in available approaches as well as the validity of online methods more broadly. In this article, we aim to address both issues with a focus on moderated data collected using video-conferencing software. First, we review existing approaches for designing and executing moderated online studies with young children. We also present concrete examples of studies that implemented choice and verbal measures and looking time across both in-person and online moderated data collection methods. Direct comparison of the two methods within each study as well as a meta-analysis of all studies suggest that the results from the two methods are comparable, providing empirical support for the validity of moderated online data collection. Finally, we discuss current limitations of online data collection and possible solutions, as well as its potential to increase the accessibility, diversity, and replicability of developmental science. (shrink)
Although the language we encounter is typically embedded in rich discourse contexts, many existing models of processing focus largely on phenomena that occur sentence-internally. Similarly, most work on children's language learning does not consider how information can accumulate as a discourse progresses. Research in pragmatics, however, points to ways in which each subsequent utterance provides new opportunities for listeners to infer speaker meaning. Such inferences allow the listener to build up a representation of the speakers' intended topic and more generally (...) to identify relationships, structures, and messages that extend across multiple utterances. We address this issue by analyzing a video corpus of child–caregiver interactions. We use topic continuity as an index of discourse structure, examining how caregivers introduce and discuss objects across utterances. For the analysis, utterances are grouped into topical discourse sequences using three annotation strategies: raw annotations of speakers' referents, the output of a model that groups utterances based on those annotations, and the judgments of human coders. We analyze how the lexical, syntactic, and social properties of caregiver–child interaction change over the course of a sequence of topically related utterances. Our findings suggest that many cues used to signal topicality in adult discourse are also available in child-directed speech. (shrink)
Machines that learn and think like people must be able to learn from others. Social learning speeds up the learning process and – in combination with language – is a gateway to abstract and unobservable information. Social learning also facilitates the accumulation of knowledge across generations, helping people and artificial intelligences learn things that no individual could learn in a lifetime.
Yarkoni's analysis clearly articulates a number of concerns limiting the generalizability and explanatory power of psychological findings, many of which are compounded in infancy research. ManyBabies addresses these concerns via a radically collaborative, large-scale and open approach to research that is grounded in theory-building, committed to diversification, and focused on understanding sources of variation.