Visual perceptual crossing

Visual perceptual crossing: what makes communications interactive for babies

It is known that social interactions are important in learning language for children. The temporal contingency and interaction dynamics ensuing have been hypothesized to be central to this social learning advantage. However, these have rarely been tested in isolation, so it is not yet clear to what extent, and how specifically, they influence children’s language learning.

To better understand contingency in real-time interactions in isolation, we will adopt the well-established Perceptual Crossing Paradigm (e.g., Auvray et al., 2009; Hermans et al., 2020) and represent eye-gaze interactions in a virtual space for babies to explore. First, we want to understand if contingency alone is sufficient to draw babies’ interest in an interaction. We will then investigate if this enhanced interest leads to better language learning. 


Auvray, M., Lenay, C., & Stewart, J. (2009). Perceptual interactions in a minimalist virtual environment. New Ideas in Psychology, 27(1), 32–47.

Hermans, K. S. F. M., Kasanova, Z., Zapata-Fonseca, L., Lafit, G., Fossion, R., Froese, T., & Myin-Germeys, I. (2020). Investigating real-time social interaction in pairs of adolescents with the Perceptual Crossing Experiment. Behavior Research Methods, 52(5), 1929–1938.