At titled Selective attention to a talker’s

At first, it doesn’t seem like an important surface-level
thought to think about where a person looks and what features they notice when
they are listening. However, with proper research insight, it can be proven to
be quite valuable for insight about how a human infant learns about speech and
language. Hillarie de Boisferon et al. (2017) indicate in their paper titled Selective attention to a talker’s mouth in
infancy: role of audiovisual temporal synchrony and linguistic experience,
that previous research has found infant’s attention shifts in conversation as
they mature. At first they seem to focus on the speaker’s eyes, before
allocating their focus unto the mouth, and eventually away from that zone
throughout maturation. Expanding off of this knowledge, Hillairet de Boisferon et al. (2017) perform a series of two
experiments aimed at observation of infant’s focus patterns under conditions
where the speech coming from the mouth of the speaker is not entirely lined up
with the visual information of the words being conveyed. They call this
condition the desynchronized condition, and is compared to a synchronized one
where the factors are temporally lined up. This desynchronized manipulation condition prompts the
question asked by Hillairet de Boisferon et al. (2017) as to whether the infant will
continue to follow the conventional pattern of focus upon the mouth of the
speaker (as discussed to be around 6 months of age) or shift back their
attention to the speaker’s eyes as seen in both prior and later points of age.
This testing question was performed and split between two different conditions
of language: infants witnessing same-language speakers and those witnessing a
different-language speaker. Hillairet de Boisferon et al. (2017) also indicate that in various
previous studies, in both the infant conditions, the focus was upon the mouth
after approximately 6 months as age, as previously described, regardless of the
language witnessing condition. They indicate that the only major difference of
initial note, from previous research, witnessed between the two exposure
groups, were that there is a sticky focus upon the mouths of the non-native
language speaker for infants 12 months of age. It’s described that infants
still tend to have major focus upon the mouth at this time, whereas in
comparison to the same-language condition, they had moved on. This is assumed
to be likely due to observing and using visual cues from the mouth in an
attempt to understand the different linguistic units that are so foreign to them.

            There were a series of two
experiments performed by Hillairet de Boisferon et al. (2017) 
as previously indicated. The first upon children in witnessing their
native language, and the second one upon those witnessing foreign speech. There
were a number of different infant age groups measured, that were consistent
across both experimental conditions. These were in intervals of two months
ranging from 4 to 12 months of age. The prime directive of this study was to
desynchronize the audio content with that of the video content presented. This
creates a situation of observation to determine if infants would continue their
pattern previously observed between mouth and eyes throughout age, or switch
due to the nature of asynchrony. Eye tracking is used as the prime means of
determining this, and is done so with a show of video of one of two types:
either tonality and language and infant would normally experience from their
parents, or tonality and language more common to that of adults in peer-to-peer
conversation. This footage becomes desynchronized by 666ms in order to hope to
elicit some change of eye behavior, and thus be able to monitor it with the
tracking device.

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            The second experiment performed by Hillairet de Boisferon
et al. (2017) was based around children witnessing speech in a language that is
not their native tongue, in this case it was Spanish. The procedures were the
same, with the speech in the video mimicking that of the previous experiment in
all lexical content, and the desynchronized video falling under the same
parameters, with the only difference being the language emitted from the
recording.

            Results
of the two studies from Hillairet de Boisferon et al. (2017) indicate that in the first experiment,
only at around 8 months does the attention of the infants become focused on one
aspect of either eyes or mouth, and in this case, it was the mouth. Throughout
all other measured age periods, there was no preference to either the mouth or
eyes. In the paper, it is indicated through comparison to previous results,
that there is actually a difference around 10 months of age. These 10-month-old
infants stopped looking at the mouth in a desynchronized condition whereas it
was previously noted that they continued with the mouth looking in synchronized
conditions. Hillairet de Boisferon et al. (2017) conclude that the reason for
this is due to to a learned knowledge of how the mouth operates for speech by
that age, and that they know enough about the language they are listening, so
in a desynchronized condition they have no need to continue the looking at that
location.

            Results from the second experiment from Hillairet de
Boisferon et al. (2017) show some significant findings under the
alternate-language condition of desynchronization. These were that 4-month-olds
would not tend to a specific location, and the 10-months-olds not necessarily
focused on one facial feature over another, when previously noted that they
would prefer looking at the eyes in the 4-month age bracket and mouth in the 10-month
age bracket. They also note that in this comparison of 10-month-olds between
the two experiments performed in this study, the 10-month-olds in the second
experiment under the desynchronized condition would exhibit more eye focus than
a synchronized condition, but it wasn’t much more. Both 8-month and 12-month-olds
would tend to the mouth in a desynchronized condition, but was not
statistically significant in the 12-month-old age group. It indicated that it’s
possible that some kind of 

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