The RAVE Revolution for Children with Minimal Language Experience During Sensitive Periods of Brain and Language Development

ID: 3170
School: Research Center/Lab
Program: Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
Status: Ongoing
Start date: October 2015
End Date: October 2022


In this NSF INSPIRE grant, Petitto (PI), leads an international team to create and explore new methods to promote early learning gains for populations of children who would otherwise be at a lifelong disadvantage, especially infants with minimal or no early language exposure. We expand the boundaries of traditionally separate sciences, and unite synergistically interdisciplinary science teams to create a transformative learning tool and research platform called the Robot AVatar Thermal-Enhanced learning tool (RAVE), which makes available multiple components of human language in socially interactive and conversational ways to young children during critical periods of human brain and behavior development vital for lifelong strength in reading and language learning. To overcome such devastating early language exposure barriers that vast numbers of children face, RAVE is intended to be augmentative for young deaf visual learners during vital early-life critical/sensitive periods of development, and inclusive of many other children. RAVE is to be placed near a baby's high-chair, so as to augment and lift young infants who would otherwise have only minimal language input into a honed sensitivity to, and integrated use of, multiple linguistic cues at the core of human language structure. RAVE has the potential to provide a new aid to children with minimal or no early language input; provide the nation with a competitive science and technological edge; train students from multiple disciplines in interdisciplinary science; advance involvement of under-represented groups in STEM, and train young deaf scientists in the advancement of scientific knowledge with transformative translational significance for all of society.

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Filippini, C. (2020). Affective Computing Based on Infrared Imaging for Human Robot Interaction. (Doctoral dissertation, Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara).


Filippini, C., Cardone, D., Perpetuini, D., Chiarelli, A.M., Petitto, L.A., & Merla, A. (In press, 2021). Assessment of autonomic response in 6–12-month-old babies during the interaction with robot and avatar by means of thermal infrared imaging. Peer-reviewed journal. International Quantitative InfraRed Thermography Journal.

Filippini, C., Merla, A., Cardone, D., Spadolini, E., Padilla, C., Gallagher, G., Sortino, R., Aaron-Lozano, K., Antonio, J., & Petitto, L.A. (Revise and Resubmit, 2021). Emotion and human language learning: Insights from combined Thermal IR and fNIRS brain imaging of human infants in communicative interactions with a robot and avatar artificial agents. Peer-reviewed journal.