Infant Language Center



The Infant Language Center at the University of Pennsylvania studies how language develops in infants and toddlers. Our primary goal is to better understand how children acquire language. Our studies take place at the University of Pennsylvania at the new beautiful state of the art Levin building. We would love to host you and your child’s visit.

Sign your baby up today.

If you have a baby that is between the ages below, click here so that we can contact you and schedule a visit to our lab.

5 mo 15 days — 6 mo 31 days

6 mo — 7 mo 31 days

9 mo — 10 mo 31 days

10 mo — 10 mo 31 days (first visit);  13 mo — 14 mo 31 days (second visit)

14 mo — 15 mo 31 days

16 mo — 19 mo 31 days

20 mo — 23 mo 31 days

24 mo — 29 mo 31 days


Bergelson, E., & Swingley, D. (in press, 2017). Young infants’ word comprehension given an unfamiliar talker or altered pronunciations. Child Development. 10.1111/cdev.12888 pdf

Adriaans, F., & Swingley, D. (2017). Prosodic exaggeration within infant-directed speech: consequences for vowel learnability. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141, 3070-3078. pdf data

Swingley, D., & Humphrey, C. (2017). Quantitative linguistic predictors of infants’ learning of specific English words. Child Development, 10.1111/cdev.12731. pdf data

Swingley, D. (2017). Commentary: The infant’s developmental path in phonological acquisition. British Journal of Psychology, 108, 28-30. 10.1111/bjop.12215 pdf

Swingley, D. (2016). Two-year-olds interpret novel phonological neighbors as familiar words. Developmental Psychology, 52, 1011-1023. doi 10.1037/dev0000114 pdf

Dautriche, I., Swingley, D., & Christophe, A. (2015). Learning novel phonological neighbors: syntactic category matters. Cognition, doi 10.1016/j.bcognition.2015.06.003 pdf

Bergelson, E., & Swingley, D. (online 2014). Early word comprehension in infants: replication and extension. Language Learning and Development, doi 10.1080/15475441.2014.979387 pdf

Quam, C., & Swingley, D. (2014). Bunny? Banana? Processing of lexical-stress cues in young children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 123, 73-89. pdf

Do young children use lexical stress to help differentiate stress-varying words? And, do they use pitch as a cue in doing so? Pitch is complicated, being used for many things; perhaps kids haven’t sorted this out yet.

Bergelson, E., & Swingley, D. (2013). Young toddlers’ word comprehension is flexible and efficient. Plos ONE, 8, 1-9. doi:0.1371/ journal.pone.0073359 pdf

Studies showing that in visual-world, “language-guided looking” situations, toddlers don’t simply respond according to picture-driven expectations. They hear speech, interpret it, and scan the world accordingly.

Bergelson, E., & Swingley, D. (2013). The acquisition of abstract words by young infants. Cognition, 127, 391-397. pdf

Bergelson, E., & Swingley, D. (2013). Social and environmental contributors to infant word learning. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 187-192. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. pdf

Bergelson, E., & Swingley, D. (Feb. 2012). At 6 to 9 months, human infants know the meanings of many common nouns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 109, 3253-3258. pdf

Swingley, D. (2012). Cognitive development in language acquisition. Language Learning and Development, 8, 1-3. pdf

Quam, C., & Swingley, D. (2012). Development in children’s interpretation of pitch cues to emotions. Child Development, 83, 246-250. pdf

Adriaans, F., & Swingley, D. (2012). Distributional learning of vowel categories is supported by prosody in infant-directed speech. In Miyake, Peebles, & Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 72-77). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. pdf

Lupyan, G., & Swingley, D. (2012). Self-directed speech affects visual search performance. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 1068-1085.pdf

Van der Feest, S. V., & Swingley, D. (2011). Dutch and English listeners’ interpretation of vowel duration. JASA Express Letters, 129, EL57-63. pdf

Swingley, D. (2011). The looking-while-listening procedure. In E. Hoff (ed.), Research Methods in Child Language (pp. 29-42), Wiley-Blackwell. pdf

Swingley, D. (2010). Fast mapping and slow mapping in children’s word learning. Language Learning and Development, 6, 179-183. pdf

Quam, C., & Swingley, D. (2010). Phonological knowledge guides two-year-olds’ and adults’ interpretation of salient pitch contours in word learning. Journal of Memory and Language, 62, 135-150. pdf

Lupyan, G., Thompson-Schill, S.L., & Swingley, D. (2010). Conceptual penetration of visual processing. Psychological Science, 21, 682-691. pdf SOM (note: Fig.1 may not display properly under Preview; try Adobe Reader.)

Swingley, D. (2009). Contributions of infant word learning to language development. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364, 3617-3622. pdf

A review paper discussing how word learning in the first year bears on concurrent and subsequent developments in language acquisition. Proposes that the learning of phonetic categories may depend on contributions from the developing lexicon, and offers new analyses supporting this possibility.

Goudbeek, M., Smits, R., & Swingley, D. (2009). Supervised and unsupervised learning of multidimensional auditory categories. JEP:HPP, 35, 1913-1933. pdf

Swingley, D. (2009). Onsets and codas in 1.5-year-olds’ word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 60, 252-269. pdf

Ramon-Casas, M., Swingley, D., Bosch, L., & Sebastian-Galles, N. (2009). Vowel categorization during word recognition in bilingual toddlers. Cognitive Psychology, 59, 96-121. pdf

Yoshida, K., Fennell, C., Swingley, D., & Werker, J.F. (2009). 14-month-olds learn similar-sounding words. Developmental Science, 12, 412-418. pdf

Swingley, D. (2008). The roots of the early vocabulary in infants’ learning from speech. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 308-312. pdf

Dietrich, C., Swingley, D., & Werker, J.F. (2007). Native language governs interpretation of salient speech sound differences at 18 months. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 104, 454-464. Available here

Swingley, D. (2007). Lexical exposure and word-form encoding in 1.5-year-olds. Developmental Psychology, 43, 454-464. pdf

Swingley, D., & Aslin, R.N. (2007). Lexical competition in young children’s word learning. Cognitive Psychology, 54, 99-132. pdf

Swingley, D. (2005). 11-month-olds’ knowledge of how familiar words sound. Developmental Science, 8, 432-443. pdf

Swingley, D. (2005). Statistical clustering and the contents of the infant vocabulary. Cognitive Psychology, 50, 86-132. pdf

Goudbeek, M., Smits, R., Swingley, D., & Cutler, A. (2005). Acquiring auditory and phonetic categories. In H. Cohen & C. Lefebvre (Eds.), Handbook of Categorization in Cognitive Science, Elsevier.

Swingley, D. (2003). Phonetic detail in the developing lexicon. Language and Speech, 46, 265-294. pdf

Swingley, D. and Aslin, R.N. (2002). Lexical neighborhoods and the word-form representations of 14-month-olds. Psychological Science, 13, 480-484. pdf

Swingley, D. and Fernald, A. (2002). Recognition of words referring to present and absent objects by 24-month-olds. Journal of Memory and Language, 46, 39-56. pdf

Fernald, A., McRoberts, G.W., and Swingley, D. (2001). Infants’ developing competence in recognizing and understanding words in fluent speech. In J. Weissenborn & B. Hoehle (eds.) Approaches to bootstrapping: Phonological, lexical, syntactic, and neurophysiological aspects of early language acquisition (Vol. I, pp. 97-123). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Fernald, A., Swingley, D., and Pinto, J.P. (2001). When half a word is enough: infants can recognize spoken words using partial phonetic information. Child Development, 72, 1003-1015. pdf

Swingley, D. and Aslin, R.N. (2000) Spoken word recognition and lexical representation in very young children. Cognition, 76, 147-166. pdf

Dahan, D., Swingley, D., Tanenhaus, M.K., and Magnuson, J.S. (2000). Linguistic gender and spoken word recognition in French. Journal of Memory and Language, 42, 465-480.

Swingley, D. (1999). Conditional probability and word discovery: A corpus analysis of speech to infants. In Proceedings of the 21st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 724-729). Mahwah, NJ.: LEA.pdf

Swingley, D., Pinto, J.P., and Fernald, A. (1999). Continuous processing in word recognition at 24 months. Cognition, 71, 73-108.

Swingley, D., Pinto, J.P., and Fernald, A. (1998). Assessing the speed and accuracy of word recognition in infants. Advances in Infancy Research, 12, pp. 257-277.

Fernald, A., Pinto, J.P., Swingley, D., Weinberg, A., and McRoberts, G. (1998). Rapid gains in speed of verbal processing by infants in the second year. Psychological Science, 9, 228-231. (Reprinted in M. Tomasello and E. Bates (eds.), Language Development: The Essential Readings. Blackwell, 2001.)

Swingley, D. (1997). Word Recognition and Representation in Young Children. PhD thesis, Stanford University Department of Psychology.

Swingley, D., Fernald, A., McRoberts, G., and Pinto, J.P. (1996). Prosody, functors, and word recognition in young children. In Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference on Language Development (pp. 760-767). Somerville, MA.: Cascadilla Press.