Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2010

Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan
September 30-October 3, 2010

I Can See What You Said: Infant Sensitivity to Articulator Congruency between Audio-Only and Silent-Video Presentations of Native and Nonnative Consonants

Catherine T. Best (1,2), Christian Kroos (1), Julia Irwin (2)

(1) MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney, Australia
(2) Haskins Laboratories, New Haven CT, USA

We examined infants’ sensitivity to articulatory organ congruency between audio-only and silent-video consonants (lip vs. tongue tip closure) to evaluate three theoretical accounts of audio-visual perceptual development for speech: 1) learned audio-visual associations; 2) intersensory perceptual narrowing; 3) amodal perception of articulatory gestures. Effects of language experience were investigated in 4- vs. 11- month-olds’ cross-modal perception of native (English stops) and nonnative (Tigrinya ejectives) consonant contrasts. The 4- month-olds showed an articulator-congruency preference for both native and nonnative consonants, but it was constrained by trial order. The 11-month-olds’ more complex cross-modal responses differed for native vs. nonnative speech, suggesting an effect of increased native language experience. Results are at odds with associative learning and perceptual narrowing, but consistent with experiential tuning of amodal perception for two distinct articulators.

Index Terms: infant speech perception, talking faces, intermodal perception, articulatory phonology, nonnative speech perception

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Best, Catherine T. / Kroos, Christian / Irwin, Julia (2010): "I can see what you said: infant sensitivity to articulator congruency between audio-only and silent-video presentations of native and nonnative consonants", In AVSP-2010, paper S6-2.