Document Detail

Infants deploy selective attention to the mouth of a talking face when learning speech.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22307596     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The mechanisms underlying the acquisition of speech-production ability in human infancy are not well understood. We tracked 4-12-mo-old English-learning infants' and adults' eye gaze while they watched and listened to a female reciting a monologue either in their native (English) or nonnative (Spanish) language. We found that infants shifted their attention from the eyes to the mouth between 4 and 8 mo of age regardless of language and then began a shift back to the eyes at 12 mo in response to native but not nonnative speech. We posit that the first shift enables infants to gain access to redundant audiovisual speech cues that enable them to learn their native speech forms and that the second shift reflects growing native-language expertise that frees them to shift attention to the eyes to gain access to social cues. On this account, 12-mo-old infants do not shift attention to the eyes when exposed to nonnative speech because increasing native-language expertise and perceptual narrowing make it more difficult to process nonnative speech and require them to continue to access redundant audiovisual cues. Overall, the current findings demonstrate that the development of speech production capacity relies on changes in selective audiovisual attention and that this depends critically on early experience.
David J Lewkowicz; Amy M Hansen-Tift
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2012-01-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-02-06     Completed Date:  2012-03-30     Revised Date:  2013-06-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1431-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.
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