My research focuses on the development of human communication and language. I am interested in the ways in which communication and language interact with social, cultural, and environmental factors. I use of range of methods in my work but typically focus on the analysis of real world recordings of caregiver-child interaction. Currently there are three strands to my research:
The role of parent-infant interaction in the development of prelinguistic gesture and early language use: Prelinguistic gestures are a key predictor of early language growth. My work focuses on the role of social interaction in the emergence and development of prelinguistic intentional communication.
The effects of the physical environment on parent-child interaction: Current research indicates that different communicative settings afford different types of caregiver-child interaction. However despite decades of research on communicative context and interaction, one particular setting remains understudied: the outdoor context. Professor Merideth Gattis (Cardiff University) and I are investigating the characteristics and features of informal outdoor interaction between caregiver and child through the fine grained observation of audio and visual naturalistic data.
The influence of shared book reading on language development and use: Jointly with Claire Noble (University of Liverpool), I am investigating the impact of shared book reading on children's early grammatical development both in terms of the contribution of the book text itself and also the language used by the caregivers while sharing the book with their child.