How do human infants acquire their native language with such astonishing speed and efficiency? Our laboratory examines the role of the social environment in rapid language acquisition. Using behavioral and brain imaging techniques, we seek to discover and define mechanisms through which social factors and environments influence the early acquisition of speech sounds and words. What is the role of different social cues during the learning process? How does learning change as a function of an infant’s age and environment? In answering these questions, our goal is to develop useful theoretical frameworks and practical tools to measure and improve language learning in infants.