Contingent interactions between caregivers and infants, in which caregivers respond promptly and meaningfully to infants’ behaviors, lay a foundation for language learning. Three pathways have been proposed for how contingent interactions promote the development of language skills: temporal, semantic, and pragmatic. Here, we argue that these pathways act through a reciprocal relation between infant attention and contingent interactions. We present evidence that attention facilitates contingent interactions to help infants understand communicative intent and, in turn, contingent interactions promote attention to allow infants to better learn from the language directed to them. This new framework suggests that contingent interactions operate through domain-general skills, thereby establishing a foundation for learning more broadly.
- Language development
- Parent-child interaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health