Berger Research Assistant Wins WPA Research Award

Our own McKenzie Javorka ’14 was awarded the 2014 Western Psychological Association Student Scholarship Award! McKenzie will be attending this year’s conference in Portland with Professor Kanaya. The members of the Program Review Committee evaluated her submission and determined that it was one of the most outstanding papers they received this year.

McKenzie’s project focused on how monolingual and bilingual children develop and use language differently. She found that bilingual Spanish/English-speaking children use more adjectives in storytelling than monolingual English children, which may have to do with how descriptions are used differently in the two languages. She also found that, regardless of whether they are monolingual or bilingual, children copy more of their mothers’ words in storytelling when the mothers are highly elaborative. This means that mothers who use more description and detail when communicating with their children can influence and increase their children’s vocabularies.

Congratulations, McKenzie!