High School Summer Interns' Capstone Presentation Captivates I-LABS Researchers

On August 14th, Priyanka Jain and Orren Arad-Neeman, I-LABS’ high school summer interns, presented their capstone project, “The Role of Social Interaction in Infants' Language Acquisition”, to the I-LABS’ faculty, staff, teachers, and parents. Their participation on this project is based on work they did in connection with a scientific experiment conducted by Dr. Sarah Roseberry and Dr. Patricia Kuhl. It examines attention/arousal as the driving force of social interactions and also systematically tests whether infant language acquisition is facilitated by interactions with peers.

Infants were exposed to Mandarin Chinese via touchscreen video and were assigned to either individual exposure sessions or peer exposure sessions. The interns were involved in coding these exposure sessions (i.e., how often infants touched the screen, whether touches were intentional, etc.). The results will inform our understanding of the components of social interactions and will speak to the utility of playgroups and other opportunities for young children to interact with peers.

A recent graduate of University Prep, Orren Arad-Neeman has an interest in linguistics and will be attending Pomona College in the fall. Priyanka Jain, another recent University Prep alum, plans to pursue neuroscience at Stanford University.