Makeba Parramore Wilbourn

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Cornell University 2008

  • M.A., California State University at Fullerton 2001

  • B.A., California State University at Fullerton 1997

Overview

My program of research explores how the relationship between cognition and language changes over time and the types of input (e.g., gestures, bilingualism) that influence this relationship. In general, my research addresses three key theoretical questions. First, how does cognition influence language early in development? In particular, I am interested in how infants and toddlers’ developing cognitive and perceptual skills lay the foundation for early word learning and how this changes as a function of input and experience. Secondly, how does language come to influence cognition in children and adults? In this line of research, I am interested in determining how various types of linguistic and cultural experiences affect the cognitive abilities of monolinguals and bilinguals throughout development. Finally, how does the use of gesture influence the relationship between cognition and language? This area of research focuses on the relationship between early gesture use and later language development and how this relationship is influenced by socio-cultural factors, such as race and socioeconomic status.

Expertise

Development, gesture, early word learning, cognition and language, socio-cultural factors

Lucca, K, and Wilbourn, MP. "Communicating to Learn: Infants' Pointing Gestures Result in Optimal Learning." Child development (December 29, 2016). Full Text

Kalia, V, Wilbourn, MP, and Ghio, K. "Better early or late? Examining the influence of age of exposure and language proficiency on executive function in early and late bilinguals." Journal of Cognitive Psychology 26.7 (October 3, 2014): 699-713. Full Text

Kuhn, LJ, Willoughby, MT, Wilbourn, MP, Vernon-Feagans, L, and Blair, CB. "Early communicative gestures prospectively predict language development and executive function in early childhood." Child development 85.5 (September 2014): 1898-1914. Full Text

Kuhn, LJ, Willoughby, MT, Wilbourn, MP, Vernon-Feagans, L, and Blair, CB. "Early communicative gestures prospectively predict language development and executive function in early childhood." Child Development 85.5 (January 1, 2014): 1898-1914. Full Text

Kalia, V, Wilbourn, MP, and Ghio, K. "Better early or late? Examining the influence of age of exposure and language proficiency on executive function in early and late bilinguals." Journal of Cognitive Psychology 26.7 (January 1, 2014): 699-713. Full Text

Wilbourn, MP, and Sims, JP. "Get by with a little help from a word: Multimodal input facilitates 26-month-olds' ability to learn symbolic gestures as labels." Journal of Cognition and Development (2013). (Academic Article)

Robertson, SS, Watamura, SE, and Wilbourn, MP. "Attentional dynamics of infant visual foraging." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109.28 (2012): 11460-11464. Full Text

Wilbourn, MP, and Casasola, M. "Hand me a cue: Developmental changes in infants’ associative word learning abilities (Submitted)." Developmental Psychology (2012). (Academic Article)

Kalia, V, Wilbourn, MP, and Ghio, K. "Age of second language acquisition and language proficiency interactively influence bilinguals’ cognition (Submitted)." Bilingualism: Cognition & Language (2012). (Academic Article)

Pages

CAREER: Gesture and Learning: Implications for Language Development Across Race and Socioeconomic Status awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2019

Learning to Pay Attention to Language Related Visual Cues awarded by RIKEN Brain Science Institute (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2018