The validity of LENA technology for assessing the linguistic environment and interactions of infants learning Hebrew and Arabic

Bonnie Levin-Asher, Osnat Segal, Liat Kishon-Rabin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study assessed LENA’s suitability as a tool for monitoring future language interventions by evaluating its reliability, construct validity, and criterion validity in infants learning Hebrew and Arabic, across low and high levels of maternal education. Participants were 32 infants aged 3 to 11 months (16 in each language) and their mothers, whose socioeconomic status (SES) was determined based on their years of education (H-high or L-low ME-maternal education). The results showed (1) good reliability for the LENA’s automatic count on adult word count (AWC), conversational turns (CTC), and infant vocalizations (CVC), based on the positive associations and fair to excellent agreement between the manual and automatic counts; (2) good construct validity based on significantly higher counts for HME vs. LME and positive associations between LENA’s automatic vocal assessment (AVA) and developmental questionnaire (DA) and age; and (3) good concurrent criterion validity based on the positive associations between the LENA counts for CTC, CVC, AVA, and DA and the scores on the preverbal parent questionnaire (PRISE). The present study supports the use of LENA in early intervention programs for infants whose families speak Hebrew or Arabic. The LENA could be used to monitor the efficacy of these programs as well as to provide feedback to parents on the amount of language experience their infants are getting and their progress in vocal production. The results also indicate a potential utility of LENA in assessing linguistic environments and interactions in Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking infants with developmental disorders, such as hearing impairment and cerebral palsy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavior Research Methods
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Construct validity
  • Criterion validity
  • Infant babbling
  • LENA system
  • Maternal education
  • Reliability
  • Semitic languages

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