Jessica Hay, assistant professor of psychology, was recently awarded a 5-year, $1.3 million dollar NIH R01 grant titled, “Infant Statistical Learning: Resilience, Longevity, and Specificity.” This award is especially noteworthy in the current extraordinarily competitive national funding environment.
The NIH grant addresses powerful computational mechanisms, often referred to as statistical learning mechanisms, which allow infants to track regularities in their environment. There is little research on the extent to which statistical learning mechanisms support early language acquisition under the challenges of everyday learning conditions. The objective of this NIH project is to advance integrative and comprehensive theories of infant language acquisition by assessing how statistical learning responds to these challenges.
Results from the proposed research will be used to help generate and test hypotheses about the causal mechanisms for specific language delays in atypical populations, such as for infants with hearing loss or infants who, for various reasons, receive sub-optimal language input during critical developmental periods.