Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Julie Campbell


Construction and language acquisition develop simultaneously, each skill contributing to the development of the other skill (Marcinowski & Campbell, 2017). The proposed study will be conducted to examine the factors that may contribute to the simultaneous development of construction and language. An investigation is proposed to examine whether caretakers use biased language when directing speech towards male and female infants. Specifically, the study is designed to determine if mothers exhibit biases in their language during a block play scenario. This study addresses whether mothers use more prepositional words or phrases with male or female children. It is expected that mothers will say more spatial prepositions when their infant is a male versus a female. Mothers were given a standard set of block toys and were asked to play for five minutes with their infant in a semi-structured setting. A repeated measures ANOVA test was employed to compare the average frequency of spatial prepositions during play sessions with males compared to play sessions with females. One limitation is that this sample only examines mothers. A different outcome might be observed with interactions between fathers and infants. The study will expand the literature by providing information about mothers’ behavior and language used when engaging with infants during a time when infants’ rate of language development is expanding rapidly


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