General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 16:00 to 16:30 Oral presentation
Configural Frecuency Analysis (CFA): It's application in the study of early language development from a dynamic systems perspective
Speaker: Alexandra Karousou, Democritus University of Thrace

Authors: Alexandra Karousou; Laura Vivas Fernández

The pace, the extent and the variability of the changes that take place during the early stages of development, as well as the multitude of factors of diverse nature (biological, cognitive, emotional, social, cultural, etc.) that interact to affect its developmental course, have already led a number of scientists to introduce the dynamic systems perspective in the study of child development (p.ej. Spencer, et al. 2006; Thelen & Smith, 1994). According to this theoretical framework, development is the emergent product of dynamic interactions among many factors which operate simultaneously on the developing child. One of the most important challenges for the study of development from this complex point of view, thus, concerns the use of adequate methodological tools that would enable the tracing of the interconnected development of several variables, that would permit the study of the dynamic interactions that take place simultaneously among many dimensions of development (Karousou, 2014). We present a novel application of a statistical tool -the ‘Configural Frequency Analysis’ (CFA; véanse p.ej. Bergman, Magnusson, & El-Khouri, 2003; von Eye, Mair, & Mun, 2010)- in the study of early language development, aiming at the detection of combinatory patterns which result from the interaction among several variables of infant vocal activity. The utility of CFA is illustrated through its application in two large datasets: (a) a dense longitudinal case study of a Spanish girl (7-18 mos. N=1994 vocalizations) (b) a cross-sectional study of 28 Spanish children (10-23 mos., N=4394 vocalizations). Developmental results are presented on the dynamic patterns which result from the interaction among various formal dimensions of their vocal productions. The importance of the proposed conceptual shift towards a dynamic approach to language development, as well as the methodological implications it brings for the study of human development are discussed.
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New methodological approaches in language development studies
Place: Room A-15

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