Krista Byers-Heinlein

Krista Byers-Heinlein
Concordia University Montreal · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

112
Publications
49,498
Reads
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2,173
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2010 - March 2016
Concordia University Montreal
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2004 - May 2010
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Education
September 2006 - May 2010
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Field of study
  • Developmental Psychology & Quantitative Methods
September 2004 - August 2006
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Field of study
  • Developmental Psychology
September 1999 - May 2003
McGill University
Field of study
  • Psychology & Computer Science

Publications

Publications (112)
Article
Young children engage in essentialist reasoning about natural kinds, believing that many traits are innately determined. This study investigated whether personal experience with second language acquisition could alter children’s essentialist biases. In a switched-at-birth paradigm, five- and six-year-old monolingual and simultaneous bilingual child...
Article
Full-text available
Is parental language mixing related to vocabulary acquisition in bilingual infants and children? Bilingual parents (who spoke English and another language; n = 181) completed the Language Mixing Scale questionnaire, a new self-report measure that assesses how frequently parents use words from two different languages in the same sentence, such as bo...
Article
a b s t r a c t PRIMIR (Processing Rich Information from Multidimensional Interactive Representations; Curtin & Werker, 2007; Werker & Curtin, 2005) is a framework that encompasses the bidirectional relations between infant speech perception and the emergence of the lexicon. Here, we expand its mandate by considering infants growing up bilingual. W...
Article
Full-text available
The first steps toward bilingual language acquisition have already begun at birth. When tested on their preference for English versus Tagalog, newborns whose mothers spoke only English during pregnancy showed a robust preference for English. In contrast, newborns whose mothers spoke both English and Tagalog regularly during pregnancy showed equal p...
Article
Many children grow up in bilingual families and acquire two first languages. Emerging research is advancing the view that the capacity to acquire language can be applied equally to two languages as to one but that bilingual and monolingual acquisition nonetheless differ in some nontrivial ways. To probe the first steps toward acquisition, researche...
Article
The acquisition of translation equivalents is often considered a special component of bilingual children's vocabulary development, as bilinguals have to learn words that share the same meaning across their two languages. This study examined three contrasting accounts for bilingual children's acquisition of translation equivalents relative to single...
Preprint
Bilingual infants acquire languages in a variety of language environments. Some caregivers follow a one-person-one-language approach in an attempt to not ‘confuse’ their child. However, the central assumption that infants can keep track of what language a person speaks has not been tested. In two studies, we tested whether bilingual and monolingual...
Preprint
Children have an early ability to learn and comprehend words, a skill that develops as they age. A critical question remains regarding what drives this development. Maturation-based theories emphasize cognitive maturity as a driver of comprehension, while accumulator theories emphasize children’s accumulation of language experiences over time. In t...
Article
In this study, we used 2016 Canadian Census data to examine home bilingualism among children aged 0–9 years. Across Canada, 18 percent of children used at least two languages at home, which rose to more than 25 percent in large cities and the Canadian territories. English and French was the most common language pair in Quebec and Ontario, and vario...
Preprint
Phoneme perception varies across languages, as listeners of different languages use the same phonetic cues differently to determine which phoneme they are hearing. This raises the question of how bilinguals perceive phonemes in each of their languages. Previous research has found that bilinguals are able to perceive phonemes in a language-specific...
Article
Bilingualism is hard to define, measure, and study. Sparked by the “replication crisis” in the social sciences, a recent discussion on the advantages of open science is gaining momentum. Here, we join this debate to argue that bilingualism research would greatly benefit from embracing open science. We do so in a unique way, by presenting six fictio...
Preprint
Parents raising children multilingually have expressed concerns for their children's multilingual development, but little is known about the nature and strength of those concerns. This large-scale quantitative study examines the concerns of 821 parents raising infants and toddlers multilingually in Quebec, Canada. The results revealed that parents...
Preprint
Bilingual infants grow up with the unique experience of needing to learn two words for most concepts. These words are called translation equivalents, and translation equivalents that also sound similar (e.g., banana—banane) are called cognates. Research has consistently shown that children and adults process and name cognates more easily than non-c...
Article
Gesture is an important communication tool that provides insight into infants' early language and cognitive development and predicts later language skills. While bilingual school‐age children have been reported to gesture more than monolinguals, there is a lack of research examining gesture use in infants exposed to more than one language. In this...
Preprint
This is the first large-scale study of resources as a form of language management – that is, a way of influencing children’s language practices. We introduce the distinction between child-directed resources (i.e., those providing parents with opportunities to engage with their children in the languages they are transmitting) and parent-directed res...
Article
Full-text available
Many infants and children around the world grow up exposed to two or more languages. Their success in learning each of their languages is a direct consequence of the quantity and quality of their everyday language experience, including at home, in daycare and preschools, and in the broader community context. Here, we discuss how research on early l...
Article
This is the first large-scale, quantitative study of the evaluative dimensions and potential predictors of Quebec-based parents’ attitudes towards childhood multilingualism. Such attitudes are assumed to constitute a determinant of parental language choices, and thereby influence children's multilingual development. The newly-developed Attitudes to...
Article
Yarkoni's analysis clearly articulates a number of concerns limiting the generalizability and explanatory power of psychological findings, many of which are compounded in infancy research. ManyBabies addresses these concerns via a radically collaborative, large-scale and open approach to research that is grounded in theory-building, committed to di...
Article
Reading stories to children provides opportunities for word learning. Bilingual children, however, encounter new words in each of their languages during shared storybook reading, and the way in which these words are presented can vary. We compared learning from two types of bilingual book materials: single‐language books and bilingual books. Five‐y...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many infants and children around the world grow up exposed to two or more languages. Their success in learning each of their languages is a direct consequence of the quantity and quality of their everyday language experience, including at home, in daycare and preschools, and in the broader community context. Here, we discuss how research on early l...
Preprint
This is the first large-scale, quantitative study of the evaluative dimensions and potential predictors of Quebec-based parents’ attitudes towards childhood multilingualism. Such attitudes are assumed to constitute a determinant of parental language choices, and thereby influence children’s multilingual development. The newly-developed Attitudes to...
Article
The ability to differentiate between two languages sets the stage for bilingual learning. Infants can discriminate languages when hearing long passages, but language switches often occur on short time scales with few cues to language identity. As bilingual infants begin learning sequences of sounds and words, how do they detect the dynamics of two...
Preprint
Bilingual children hear sentences that contain words from both languages, also known as code-switching. Investigating how bilinguals process code-switching is a crucial component in understanding bilingual language acquisition, because young bilinguals experience processing costs and reduced comprehension when encountering code-switched nouns. Stud...
Preprint
Bilingualism is hard to define, measure, and study. Sparked by the so-called replication crisis in the social sciences, a recent discussion on the advantages of open science is gaining momentum. Here we join this debate to argue that bilingualism research would greatly benefit from embracing open science. We do so in a unique way, by presenting six...
Article
Language mixing is common in bilingual children's learning environments. Here, we investigated effects of language mixing on children's learning of new words. We tested two groups of 3-year-old bilinguals: French–English (Experiment 1) and Spanish–English (Experiment 2). Children were taught two novel words, one in single-language sentences (“Look!...
Preprint
Bilinguals understand when the communication context calls for speaking a particular language and can switch from speaking one language to the other based on such conceptual knowledge. There is disagreement regarding whether conceptually-based language switching is also possible in the listening modality. For example, can bilingual listeners percep...
Preprint
This study used the 2016 Canadian census data to examine bilingualism amongst children aged 0–9 years. Across Canada, 18 percent of children used two or more languages at home, which rose to more than 25 percent of children in large cities and in Northern Canada. English and French was the most common language pair in Quebec and Ontario, and a vari...
Article
Learning the rules and expectations that govern our social interactions is one of the major challenges of development. The current study examined whether bilingualism is associated with differences in children’s developing social knowledge. We presented 54 4- to 6-year-old monolingual and bilingual children with vignettes of moral transgressions (e...
Article
Full-text available
Aims and Objectives: Bilingualism is a complex construct, and it can be difficult to define and model. This paper proposes that the field of bilingualism can draw from other fields of psychology, by integrating advanced psychometric models that incorporate both categorical and continuous properties. These models can unify the widespread use of bili...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ability to learn and apply rules lies at the heart of cognition. In a seminal study, Marcus, Vijayan, Rao, and Vishton (1999) reported that seven-month-old infants learned abstract rules over syllable sequences and were able to generalize those rules to novel syllable sequences. Dozens of studies have since extended on that research using diffe...
Preprint
Evaluating others’ actions as praiseworthy or blameworthy is a fundamental aspect of human nature. A seminal study published in 2007 suggested that the ability to form social evaluations based on third-party interactions emerges within the first year of life, considerably earlier than previously thought (Hamlin, Wynn, & Bloom, 2007). In this study,...
Preprint
The acquisition of translation equivalents is often considered a special component of bilingual children’s vocabulary development, as bilinguals have to learn words that share the same meaning across their two languages. This study examined three contrasting accounts for bilingual children’s acquisition of translation equivalents relative to words...
Article
Code-switching is a common phenomenon in bilingual communities, but little is known about bilingual parents’ code-switching when speaking to their infants. In a pre-registered study, we identified instances of code-switching in day-long at-home audio recordings of 21 French–English bilingual families in Montreal, Canada, who provided recordings whe...
Preprint
The adult lexicon links concepts and labels with related meanings (e.g. dog–cat). How do children’s encounters with concepts versus labels contribute to semantic development? Three studies investigated semantic priming in 40 monolinguals and 32 bilinguals, who have similar experience with concepts, but different experience with labels (i.e. monolin...
Preprint
Infants and toddlers grow up in a variety of language environments—for example, some are monolingual and some are bilingual—but nearly all children develop the ability to understand the language(s) around them. In this chapter, we trace children's path to language comprehension, from listening in infancy, to phonetic perception, speech segmentation...
Preprint
Previous research suggests that English monolingual children and adults can use speech disfluencies (e.g., uh) to predict that a speaker will name a novel object. To understand the origins of this ability, we tested 48 32-month-old children (monolingual English, monolingual French, bilingual English-French; Study 1) and 16 adults (bilingual English...
Preprint
Infants can learn words in their daily interactions early in life, and many studies have demonstrated that they can also learn words from brief in-lab exposures. While most studies have included monolingual infants, less is known about bilingual infants’ word learning and the role that language familiarity plays in this ability. In this study we ex...
Preprint
Infant research is often underpowered, undermining the robustness and replicability of our findings. Improving the reliability of infant measures offers a solution for increasing statistical power independent of sample size. Here, we discuss two senses of the term reliability in the context of infant research: reliable (large) effects and reliable...
Preprint
Yarkoni’s analysis clearly articulates a number of concerns limiting the generalizability and explanatory power of psychological findings, many of which are compounded in infancy research. ManyBabies addresses these concerns via a radically collaborative, large-scale and open approach to research that is grounded in theory-building, committed to di...
Preprint
Do children and adults engage in spontaneous Theory of Mind (ToM)? Accumulating evidence from anticipatory looking (AL) studies suggests that they do. But a growing body of studies failed to replicate these original findings. This paper presents the first step of a large-scale multi-lab collaboration dedicated to testing the robustness of spontaneo...
Article
Many children grow up hearing multiple languages, learning words in each. How does the number of languages being learned affect multilinguals’ vocabulary development? In a pre-registered study, we compared productive vocabularies of bilingual ( n = 170) and trilingual ( n = 20) toddlers aged 17–33 months growing up in a bilingual community where bo...
Article
Full-text available
From the earliest months of life, infants prefer listening to and learn better from infant-directed speech (IDS) compared with adult-directed speech (ADS). Yet IDS differs within communities, across languages, and across cultures, both in form and in prevalence. This large-scale, multisite study used the diversity of bilingual infant experiences to...
Article
Determining the meanings of words requires language learners to attend to what other people say. However, it behooves a young language learner to simultaneously encode relevant non‐verbal cues, for example, by following the direction of their eye gaze. Sensitivity to cues such as eye gaze might be particularly important for bilingual infants, as th...
Preprint
Bilingualism has been hypothesized to shape domain-general cognitive abilities across the lifespan, in what some have called the “bilingual advantage”. Here, we examined the replicability of a seminal study that showed monolingual–bilingual differences in infancy (Kovács & Mehler, 2009a) by collecting new data from 7-month-olds and 20-month-olds an...
Preprint
Vocabulary size is one of the most important early metrics of language development. Assessing vocabulary in bilingual children is complex because bilinguals learn words in two languages, which include translation equivalents (cross-language synonyms). We collected expressive vocabulary data from English and French monolinguals (n = 220), and Englis...
Article
Aims and objectives Many children grow up in bilingual families; however, little is known about how these families use their two languages in their home reading practices. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of language proficiency on the shared storybook reading practices of bilingual families. Methodology We gathered questionnaire d...
Preprint
Aims and objectives: Many children grow up in bilingual families; however, little is known about how these families use their two languages in their home reading practices. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of language proficiency on the shared storybook reading practices of bilingual families. Methodology: We gathered questionnaire...
Article
The field of infancy research faces a difficult challenge: some questions require samples that are simply too large for any one lab to recruit and test. ManyBabies aims to address this problem by forming large-scale collaborations on key theoretical questions in developmental science, while promoting the uptake of Open Science practices. Here, we l...
Preprint
The first steps toward bilingual language acquisition have already begun at birth. When tested on their preference for English versus Tagalog, newborns whose mothers spoke only English during pregnancy showed a robust preference for English. In contrast, newborns whose mothers spoke both English and Tagalog regularly during pregnancy showed equal p...
Preprint
Code-switching is a common phenomenon in bilingual communities, but little is known about bilingual parents’ code-switching when speaking to their infants. In a pre-registered study, we identified instances of code-switching in day-long at-home audio recordings of 21 French–English bilingual families in Montreal, Canada, who provided recordings whe...
Preprint
Determining the meanings of words requires language learners to attend to what other people say. However, it behooves a young language learner to simultaneously attend to what other people attend to, for example, by following the direction of their eye gaze. Sensitivity to cues such as eye gaze might be particularly important for bilingual infants,...
Article
The current paper describes a study that sought to determine the beliefs, practices, and needs of parents living in Montreal, Quebec, who were raising their children bi/multilingually. The parents (N = 27) participated in a total of nine focus group and individual interviews in which they discussed their family language policies (language ideologie...
Preprint
Bilingualism is a complex construct, and it can be difficult to define and model. This paper proposes that the field of bilingualism can draw from other fields of psychology, by integrating advanced psychometric models that incorporate both categorical and continuous properties. These models can unify the widespread use of bilingual and monolingual...
Preprint
The ability to differentiate between two languages sets the stage for bilingual learning. Infants can discriminate languages when hearing long passages, but language switches often occur on short time scales with few cues to language identity. As bilingual infants begin learning sequences of sounds and words, how do they detect the dynamics of two...
Preprint
School-age bilinguals have been reported to gesture more than monolinguals (Nicoladis et al., 2009). However, research has not yet investigated whether such differences can be observed in infancy. In a pre-registered study, we measured parent-reported gesture use in three groups of 14–month–olds (N = 152) learning French and/or English: bilingual,...
Preprint
The current paper describes a study that sought to determine the beliefs, practices, and needs of parents living in Montreal, Quebec, who were raising their children bi/multilingually. The parents (N = 27) participated in a total of nine focus group and individual interviews in which they discussed their family language policies (language ideologie...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological scientists have become increasingly concerned with issues related to methodology and replicability, and infancy researchers in particular face specific challenges related to replicability: For example, high-powered studies are difficult to conduct, testing conditions vary across labs, and different labs have access to different infant...
Preprint
Reading stories to children provides opportunities for word learning. Bilingual children encounter new words in each of their languages during shared storybook reading, but the way in which they encounter them can vary. We compared learning from two types of bilingual book materials: typical single-language books (i.e., two copies of the same book,...
Preprint
Language mixing is common in bilingual children’s learning environments. Here, we investigated effects of language mixing on children’s learning of new words. We tested two groups of 3-year-old bilinguals: French–English (Experiment 1) and Spanish–English (Experiment 2). Children were taught two novel words, one in single-language sentences (“Look!...
Preprint
Many children worldwide grow up hearing multiple languages, and thus learn vocabulary words in each. How does the number of languages being learned affect multilinguals’ vocabulary development? In a pre-registered study, we compared productive vocabularies of bilingual (n = 170) and trilingual (n = 20) toddlers aged 17–33 months growing up in a bil...
Preprint
Full-text available
From the earliest months of life, infants prefer listening to and learn better from infant-directed speech (IDS) than adult-directed speech (ADS). Yet, IDS differs within communities, across languages, and across cultures, both in form and in prevalence. This large-scale, multi-site study used the diversity of bilingual infant experiences to explor...
Preprint
The field of infancy research faces a difficult challenge: some questions require samples that are simply too large for any one lab to recruit and test. ManyBabies aims to address this problem by forming large-scale collaborations on key theoretical questions in developmental science, while promoting the uptake of Open Science practices. Here, we l...
Preprint
Full-text available
Examining how bilingual infants experience their dual language input is important for understanding bilingual language acquisition. To assess these language experiences, researchers typically conduct language interviews with caregivers. However, little is known about the reliability of these parent reports in describing how bilingual children actua...
Article
Examining how bilingual infants experience their dual language input is important for understanding bilingual language acquisition. To assess these language experiences, researchers typically conduct language interviews with caregivers. However, little is known about the reliability of these parent reports in describing how bilingual children actua...
Preprint
Language acquisition depends on the ability to detect and track the distributional properties of speech. Successful acquisition also necessitates detecting changes in those properties, which can occur when the learner encounters different speakers, topics, dialects, or languages. When encountering multiple speech streams with different underlying s...
Article
Language acquisition depends on the ability to detect and track the distributional properties of speech. Successful acquisition also necessitates detecting changes in those properties, which can occur when the learner encounters different speakers, topics, dialects, or languages. When encountering multiple speech streams with different underlying s...
Article
Full-text available
Many children around the world grow up bilingual, learning and using two or more languages in everyday life. Currently, however, children’s language backgrounds are not always reported in developmental studies. There is mounting evidence that bilingualism interacts with a wide array of processes including language, cognitive, perceptual, brain, and...
Article
Purpose This study examined the utility of the Language ENvironment Analysis (LENA) recording system for investigating the language input to bilingual infants. Method Twenty-one French–English bilingual families with a 10-month-old infant participated in this study. Using the LENA recording system, each family contributed 3 full days of recordings...
Article
A talking face provides redundant cues on the mouth that might support language learning and highly salient social cues in the eyes. What drives children's looking toward the mouth versus eyes of a talking face? This study reports data from 292 children who viewed faces speaking English, French, and Russian. We investigated the impact of children's...
Article
Bilingual infants vary in when, how, and how often they hear each of their languages. Variables such as the particular languages of exposure, the community context, the onset of exposure, the amount of exposure, and socioeconomic status are crucial for describing any bilingual infant sample. Parent report is an effective approach for gathering data...
Preprint
A talking face provides redundant cues on the mouth that might support language learning and highly salient social cues in the eyes. What drives children's looking towards the mouth versus eyes of a talking face? This study reports data from 292 children who viewed faces speaking English, French, and Russian. We investigated the impact of children’...
Preprint
Purpose: This study examined the utility of the Language ENvironment Analysis (LENA) recording system for investigating the language input to bilingual infants. Method: Twenty-one French-English bilingual families with a 10-month-old infant participated in this study. Using the LENA recording system, each family contributed three full days of recor...
Article
Previous research suggests that English monolingual children and adults can use speech disfluencies (e.g., uh) to predict that a speaker will name a novel object. To understand the origins of this ability, we tested 48 32-month-old children (monolingual English, monolingual French, bilingual English–French; Study 1) and 16 adults (bilingual English...
Article
Mixing two languages in speech (i.e., code-switching) is prevalent in multilingual settings, including in speech directed towards infants. Prior research suggests a link between parental code-switching and vocabulary size (Byers-Heinlein, 2013). Moreover, laboratory work suggests that some types of code-switching appear more difficult for infants t...
Article
ManyBabies1, our first effort at a large scale collaborative infant experimental study, provided a conceptual replication of the well-known phenomenon of infant preference for the characteristics of Infant-directed speech (IDS). One important question that has largely been unanswered by extant literature is how much the IDS preference is dependent...
Article
Full-text available
Associative word learning, the ability to pair a concept to a word, is an essential mechanism for early language development. One common method by which researchers measure this ability is the Switch task (Werker, Cohen, Lloyd, Casasola, & Stager, 1998), wherein infants are habituated to 2 word-object pairings and then tested on their ability to no...
Preprint
This study tested Spanish-English bilingual toddlers’ processing of single-language and mixed-language sentences. Processing was disrupted when toddlers heard a heard a switch from their dominant to non-dominant language, but not vice versa, and they benefited from hearing nouns produced in their dominant language, independent of switching. These r...
Article
Full-text available
Bilinguals understand when the communication context calls for speaking a particular language and can switch from speaking one language to speaking the other based on such conceptual knowledge. There is disagreement regarding whether conceptually-based language selection is also possible in the listening modality. For example, can bilingual listene...
Article
In bilingual language environments, infants and toddlers listen to two separate languages during the same key years that monolingual children listen to just one, and bilinguals rarely learn each of their two languages at the same rate. Learning to understand language requires them to cope with challenges not found in monolingual input, notably the...