Emotion Expression & Joint Attention: The Influence of Affect on Language Learning
Presmanes, Alison Greer
Previous research suggests that neutral infants have more advanced expressive language abilities, compared to more emotionally expressive infants . Bloom (1993) hypothesized that infants who express more non-neutral affect (positive or negative) have less cognitive resources to devote to language learning. The present study tested Bloom’s theory with 12- to 18-month-old infants. We predicted that neutral affect expression would be positively associated with expressive language as well as responding to joint attention (RJA) ability, a pivotal skill for learning words in infancy. Our results did not support Bloom’s hypothesis in that neutral affect was not correlated with language. Neutral affect was negatively correlated with RJA; positive and negative affect were each positively correlated with RJA. Multiple regression revealed that positive and negative affect together significantly predicted RJA ability, whereas chronological age did not. The findings add to the research on emotional expression and joint attention.