Peekbank: Exploring children's word recognition through an open, large-scale repository for developmental eye-tracking data

Abstract

The ability to rapidly recognize words and link them to referents in context is central to children’s early language development. This ability, often called word recognition in the developmental literature, is typically studied in the looking-while-listening paradigm, which measures infants' fixation on a target object (vs. a distractor) after hearing a target label. We present a large-scale, open database of infant and toddler eye-tracking data from looking-while-listening tasks. The goal of this effort is to address theoretical and methodological challenges in measuring vocabulary development. We present two analyses of the current database (N=1,233): (1) capturing age-related changes in infants' word recognition while generalizing across item-level variability and (2) assessing how a central methodological decision – selecting the time window of analysis – impacts the reliability of measurement. Future efforts will expand the scope of the current database to advance our understanding of participant-level and item-level variation in children’s vocabulary development.