5. TITZER, R. (1999). Five-month-old infants’ abilities to discriminate written language. Invited guest speaker. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
This study used common looking time measures to determine if 5 month-old infants could visually differentiate written words. Twenty-eight 5-month-old infants were habituated to written words. A double-blind procedure was used to investigate whether 5-month-old infants could visually differentiate the word “clapping” from the word “wave.” Looking times decreased over trials, then leveled off, for the word “clapping.” When the novel word “wave” was introduced, looking times increased significantly indicating that the babies could visually differentiate those written words.
Note: At the time the study was completed, it was commonly believed by many people that infants had the perceptual abilities to notice small differences in visual stimuli – such as the differences among written words. An abundance of evidence now exists that infants can not only differentiate similar visual stimuli, but they can also figure out patterns in many stimuli.