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.
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.
|Keyword(s) / Subject(s):||Visual speech, phonetic learning, distributional information|
|School:||Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences|
|Research Centre:||Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)|
|Date Deposited:||06 Jan 2011 09:16|
|Last Modified:||02 Dec 2016 11:12|
Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.