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Language Learning and Memory Laboratory

 

The overall goal of the Language Learning and Memory Lab is to identify strategies that not only help children learn new words in the moment, but help children remember those words days, weeks, and months later.

 

What do we study?

Suppose I told you that the plastic pieces at the end of shoelaces are called aglets. If I asked you what those plastic pieces are called 5 minutes later, could you tell me? You probably could. What if I asked you a week, a month, or a year later? Could you remember the name then?

Children are exposed to new words all the time in classroom and home settings. However, they don’t remember all of the words that they hear. Why do they remember some words and forget others? How can we support children’s ability to remember words? The goal of our lab is to find answers to these questions.

Who do we study?

Currently, we focus on understanding learning and memory in preschool-age children. Some children learn words rapidly during the preschool years. Other children struggle with learning new words. For these children, supporting word learning early on can lead to better language development. We are particularly interested in supporting word learning in children with Developmental Language Disorders.

What is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)?

Children with DLD struggle with saying what they want to say. This is because they have trouble learning new words and learning the grammar of their language. They also have a hard time understand what others are saying. About 2 children in a classroom with 30 students have DLD. Thus, it is common. However, DLD is often hidden. Children with DLD may be perceived as being shy, because they talk less than their peers. Conversely, they may act out because they have a hard time expressing their thoughts and feelings to others.

Learn more about DLD