BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Visual speech contributes to phonetic learning in 6-month-old infants

Teinonen, T. and Aslin, R.N. and Alku, P. and Csibra, Gergely (2008) Visual speech contributes to phonetic learning in 6-month-old infants. Cognition 108 (3), pp. 850-855. ISSN 0010-0277.

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2008.05.009

Abstract

Previous research has shown that infants match vowel sounds to facial displays of vowel articulation [Kuhl, P. K., & Meltzoff, A. N. (1982). The bimodal perception of speech in infancy. Science, 218, 1138–1141; Patterson, M. L., & Werker, J. F. (1999). Matching phonetic information in lips and voice is robust in 4.5-month-old infants. Infant Behaviour & Development, 22, 237–247], and integrate seen and heard speech sounds [Rosenblum, L. D., Schmuckler, M. A., & Johnson, J. A. (1997). The McGurk effect in infants. Perception & Psychophysics, 59, 347–357; Burnham, D., & Dodd, B. (2004). Auditory-visual speech integration by prelinguistic infants: Perception of an emergent consonant in the McGurk effect. Developmental Psychobiology, 45, 204–220]. However, the role of visual speech in language development remains unknown. Our aim was to determine whether seen articulations enhance phoneme discrimination, thereby playing a role in phonetic category learning. We exposed 6-month-old infants to speech sounds from a restricted range of a continuum between /ba/ and /da/, following a unimodal frequency distribution. Synchronously with these speech sounds, one group of infants (the two-category group) saw a visual articulation of a canonical /ba/ or /da/, with the two alternative visual articulations, /ba/ and /da/, being presented according to whether the auditory token was on the /ba/ or /da/ side of the midpoint of the continuum. Infants in a second (one-category) group were presented with the same unimodal distribution of speech sounds, but every token for any particular infant was always paired with the same syllable, either a visual /ba/ or a visual /da/. A stimulus-alternation preference procedure following the exposure revealed that infants in the former, and not in the latter, group discriminated the /ba/–/da/ contrast. These results not only show that visual information about speech articulation enhances phoneme discrimination, but also that it may contribute to the learning of phoneme boundaries in infancy.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Visual speech, phonetic learning, distributional information
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011 09:16
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:18
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2355

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item