The Lobo Language Acquisition Lab presents #CelebrateBilingualismNM Speaker Series featuring Dr. Rain Bosworth on Friday, Dec. 2 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. The title of Bosworth’s talk is Learning about Language from Bimodal Babies: Insights from Eye Gaze Patterns.

This free online event will be held via Zoom. To register, visit #CelebrateBilingualismNM. ASL interpreters will be provided. To inquire about specific access needs, email Aster Forrest at

Bosworth, from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, will discuss language, gesture, and other communicative signals that are biologically privileged starting at infancy and continue to have profound effects on human cognition later in life. Yet most of what we know about how language experience impacts cognition comes from work with hearing people using spoken language. Much can be learned about language foundations by studying “bimodal” deaf and hearing speakers who use two languages, one spoken and one signed.

Bosworth will present findings from her lab where they measured gaze patterns of infants, children, and adults who are either monolingual English speakers or “bimodal-bilingual” signers of English and American Sign Language. The researchers have learned about visual-cognitive processing for a range of signals, including fingerspelling, isolated signs, signed narratives, gestures, and distorted nonsense signs.

These findings provide empirical evidence for a potential for communication in the visual (rather than acoustic) modality that arises very early in life and is observed even in hearing unimodal non-signing infants. The results also pinpoint perceptually salient cues that transcend sensory modality that exist in both spoken and signed languages.

Bosworth is an assistant professor in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) which is one of the colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). NTID is home to diverse bimodal-multilingual Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, and Hearing faculty members who teach over 1,000 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing college students. She is director of the NTID Perception, Language and Attention in Youth (PLAY) Lab. Bosworth is a deaf experimental psychologist, studying development of perception and language in infants and children.

She is currently starting new projects studying visual and tactile behaviors in deaf and hearing children to address questions about how we learn about the world through the lens of manual-visual signed language. Together, these lines of research reveal how early sensory input shapes perception, cognition, and language processing.

Bosworth earned her doctoral degree at the University of California, San Diego where she studied visual motion processing and attention in deaf adults, to better understand how deafness and sign language experience impact perceptual abilities. As a postdoc fellow at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, she studied visual abilities in children with congenital eye disorders.

The Lobo Language Acquisition Lab (LLA Lab) is housed in The University of New Mexico's Linguistics Department. The Lab studies child language development through the lens of usage-based and cognitive-functional linguistics. Current projects include research on children's acquisition of minority language grammars in New Mexico, including Navajo, Spanish and ASL; signed language development; children's acquisition of morphosyntactic variation; language activation in bi-modal bilinguals; and assessment of bilingual children's language skills.

The Lobo Language Acquisition Lab thanks the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for their support of the lab and this speaker series. For more information, visit Lobo Language Acquisition Lab.