Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 1: Language and Communication

Language Development

Rowland, Caroline_1Language is a uniquely human, complex communication system that is learnt, apparently effortlessly, in the first few years of a child’s life. Our goal is to discover more about how children achieve this. We build, develop, and test process models and theories that address the central question of first language acquisition: How do children’s learning mechanisms exploit information in different environments to build mature linguistic knowledge?

In our Language in the Brain theme, we use data from multiple-methods - corpus data, behavioural experimental data, and neurological data – to test different theories of the cognitive mechanisms that underpin children’s language development. In Language across the World, we assess whether our theories of language development can account for the pattern of development across different languages being learned in different cultural and multicultural environments. In our Language over Development theme, we use multiple measures from the same children studied at different ages to test our ability to predict development over time.

Rowland, Caroline_eyetrackerAcross all themes, studies take place with children of all ages, and with adults. For recruiting and testing, we are part of the Baby and Child Research Centre at the Radboud University.

For more information, including an up-to-date publication list, please see our website.

Name: Caroline Rowland
Telephone: 024-3521242
Visiting address: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key publications
Bergmann, C. & Cristia, A. (2017). Environmental influences on infants' native vowel discrimination: The case of talker number in daily life. Provisionally accepted. Preprint
Casillas, M., & Frank, M. C. (2017). The development of children's ability to track and predict turn structure in conversation. Journal of Memory and Language, 92, 234-253.
Frost, R. L. A. & Monaghan, P. (2016). Simultaneous segmentation and generalisation of nonadjacent dependencies from continuous speech. Cognition, 147, 70-74.
Jones, G., & Rowland, C. F. (2017). Diversity not quantity in caregiver speech: Using computational modeling to isolate the effects of the quantity and the diversity of the input on vocabulary growth. Cognitive Psychology, 98, 1-21.
Kidd, E. & Arciuli, J. (2016). Individual differences in statistical learning predict children's comprehension of syntax. Child Development, 87, 184 - 193.
Kidd, E., Chiu, J., & Chan, A. (2015). Crosslinguistic influence in Cantonese-English bilingual children’s comprehension of relative clauses. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 18, 438 – 452.
Key grants
2015. Economic and Social Research Council, UK. How to promote children's language development using family-based shared book reading. Awarded to Rowland and colleagues.
2015. ERC Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. Variability’s influence on language acquisition. Awarded to Bergmann.
2016. Australian Research Council. Discovering sources of individual differences in first language acquisition. Awarded to Kidd and colleagues.
2016. Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) Veni Individual Researcher Grant. Early language experience and later language development: A cross-cultural perspective. Awarded to Casillas.

2017. Language Learning Early Career Researcher Grant, UK. Practice Shapes Language Processing. Awarded to Frost.

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Theme 1:
Language and Communication

Language Development

Principal Investigator
Prof. Caroline Rowland