Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Infants' recognition of speech more sophisticated than previously known, NYU researchers find

July 18, 2012
The ability of infants to recognize speech is more sophisticated than previously known, researchers in New York University's Department of Psychology have found. Their study, which appears in the journal Developmental Psychology, showed that infants, as early as nine months old, could make distinctions between speech and non-speech sounds in both humans and animals.

"Our results show that infant speech perception is resilient and flexible," explained Athena Vouloumanos, an assistant professor at NYU and the study's lead author. "This means that our recognition of speech is more refined at an earlier age than we'd thought."

It is well-known that adults' speech perception is fine-tuned-they can detect speech among a range of ambiguous sounds. But much less is known about the capability of infants to make similar assessments. Understanding when these abilities become instilled would shed new light on how early in life we develop the ability to recognize speech.

In order to gauge the aptitude to perceive speech at any early age, the researchers examined the responses of infants, approximately nine months in age, to recorded human and parrot speech and non-speech sounds. Human (an adult female voice) and parrot speech sounds included the words "truck," "treat," "dinner," and "two." The adult non-speech sounds were whistles and a clearing of the throat while the parrot non-speech sounds were squawks and chirps. The recorded parrot speech sounds were those of Alex, an African Gray parrot that had the ability to talk and reason and whose behaviors were studied by psychology researcher Irene Pepperberg.

Since infants cannot verbally communicate their recognition of speech, the researchers employed a commonly used method to measure this process: looking longer at what they find either interesting or unusual. Under this method, looking longer at a visual paired with a sound may be interpreted as a reflection of recognition. In this study, sounds were paired with a series of visuals: a checkerboard-like image, adult female faces, and a cup.

The results showed that infants listened longer to human speech compared to human non-speech sounds regardless of the visual stimulus, revealing the ability recognize human speech independent of the context.

Their findings on non-human speech were more nuanced. When paired with human-face visuals or human artifacts like cups, the infants listened to parrot speech longer than they did non-speech, such that their preference for parrot speech was similar to their preference for human speech sounds. However, this did not occur in the presence of other visual stimuli. In other words, infants were able to distinguish animal speech from non-speech, but only in some contexts.

"Parrot speech is unlike human speech, so the results show infants have the ability to detect different types of speech, even if they need visual cues to assist in this process," explained Vouloumanos.

###

The study's other co-author was Hanna Gelfand, an undergraduate at NYU's College of Arts and Science at the time of the study and currently a graduate student in the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders.

New York University


Related Human Speech Current Events and Human Speech News Articles


Norepinephrine aids brain in sorting complex auditory signals
For neuroscientists studying the intricate mechanisms of hearing in the brain's auditory cortex, a major question has been how a listener can focus in a noisy environment, and how neurochemicals help neurons convey as much embedded information as possible for the rest of the brain to act on.

Researchers find brain area that integrates speech's rhythms
Duke and MIT scientists have discovered an area of the brain that is sensitive to the timing of speech, a crucial element of spoken language.

I knew it was you by the sound of your (whale) voice
Human beings have unique voices -- from the deep, resonating bass of James Earl Jones to the raspy melodies sung by Broadway star Carol Channing -- and we routinely recognize individuals based solely on the way they sound, for example over the telephone, on a music CD or in an animated film.

University of Oregon team glimpses how the brain transforms sound
When people hear the sound of footsteps or the drilling of a woodpecker, the rhythmic structure of the sounds is striking, says Michael Wehr, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

The hoo's hoo of gibbon communication
The secret communication of gibbons has been interpreted for the first time in a study published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Human speech's surprising influence on young infants
America's preoccupation with the "word gap"-- the idea that parents in impoverished homes speak less to their children, which, in turn, predicts outcomes like school achievement and income later in life -- has skyrocketed in recent years, leading to a rise in educational initiatives aiming to narrow the achievement gap by teaching young children more words.

Humans, sparrows make sense of sounds in similar ways
The song of the swamp sparrow -- a grey-breasted bird found in wetlands throughout much of North America -- is a simple melodious trill, repeated over and over again.

International team maps 'big bang' of bird evolution
The first findings of the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium are being reported nearly simultaneously in 28 papers -- eight papers in a Dec. 12 special issue of Science and 20 more in Genome Biology, GigaScience and other journals. The full set of papers in Science and other journals can be accessed at avian.genomics.cn

Scientists reveal new family tree for birds, clear back to dinosaur parents
A large international group of scientists, including an Oregon Health & Science University neuroscientist, is publishing this week the results of a first-ever look at the genome of dozens of common birds.

Identifying 'stance taking' cues to enable sophisticated voice recognition
In the future, computers may be capable of talking to us during meetings just like a remote teleconference participant.
More Human Speech Current Events and Human Speech News Articles

God's Human Speech: A Practical Theology of Proclamation

God's Human Speech: A Practical Theology of Proclamation
by Charles L. Bartow (Author)


Charles Bartow's stated purpose in this practical theology of preaching is "to encourage confidence in the Bible read and the sermon delivered as a means of grace in an age of radical criticism of Scripture, creed, and confession.

Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless Behavior

Uniquely Human: The Evolution of Speech, Thought, and Selfless Behavior
by Philip Lieberman (Author)


In a stimulating synthesis of cognitive science, anthropology, and linguistics, Philip Lieberman tackles the fundamental questions of human nature: How and why are human beings so different from other species? Can the Darwinian theory of evolution explain human linguistic and cognitive ability? How do our processes of language and thought differ from those of Homo erectus 500,000 years ago, or of the Neanderthals 35,000 years ago? What accounts for human moral sense? Lieberman believes that evolution for rapid, efficient vocal communication forged modern human beings by creating the modern human brain. Earlier hominids lacked fully human speech and syntax, which together allow us to convey complex thoughts rapidly. The author discusses how natural selection acted on older brain...

Human Communication

Human Communication
by Judy Pearson (Author), Paul Nelson (Author), Scott Titsworth (Author), Lynn Harter (Author)


The fourth edition of Human Communication is an engaging reflection of the contemporary field of communication studies. The authors' writing mantra ("Make It Smart; Keep It Real") leads to a text that strikes a practical balance of definitive content and everyday application. To "make it smart," the authors read hundreds of articles from mainstream communication journals. To "keep it real," the authors synthesized their findings so that they resonate with the challenges and goals of today's typical basic course. Always the goal is to highlight the relevancy of communication to college students by engaging the readers. Every chapter features skill-building, critical thinking, innovative pedagogy, 21st century examples, and lively writing that is respectful of the student reader.

Wired for Speech: How Voice Activates and Advances the Human-Computer Relationship

Wired for Speech: How Voice Activates and Advances the Human-Computer Relationship
by Clifford Nass (Author), Scott Brave (Author)


Interfaces that talk and listen are populating computers, cars, call centers, and even home appliances and toys, but voice interfaces invariably frustrate rather than help. In Wired for Speech, Clifford Nass and Scott Brave reveal how interactive voice technologies can readily and effectively tap into the automatic responses all speech -- whether from human or machine -- evokes. Wired for Speech demonstrates that people are "voice-activated": we respond to voice technologies as we respond to actual people and behave as we would in any social situation. By leveraging this powerful finding, voice interfaces can truly emerge as the next frontier for efficient,...

Understanding Human Communication

Understanding Human Communication
by Ronald B. Adler (Author), George Rodman (Author), Athena du Pré (Author)


For over three decades, this has been the bestselling text for the Human Communication course. Understanding Human Communication is written with one goal in mind: to provide students with the insights and skills to succeed in our changing world. Fully updated and expanded to include more information on culture and communication, gender and communication, and the effects of technology and social media on communication, this twelfth edition also features two new types of boxes, "Understanding Diversity" and "@Work," as well as new annotated sample speeches.

Understanding Human Communication

Understanding Human Communication
by Ronald B. Adler (Author), George Rodman (Author), Carrie Cropley Hutchinson (Author)


UNDERSTANDING HUMAN COMMUNICATION IS UNDERSTANDING CHANGE.

For over three decades, this has been the best-selling text for the introduction to human communication course. Understanding Human Communication is written with one goal in mind: to provide students with the insights and skills to succeed in our changing world. Ronald B. Adler, George Rodman, and new author Carrie Cropley Hutchinson place communication theory within the context of everyday skills and draw from the latest media, culture, and scholarship, creating a distinctive pedagogy that gives students the tools they need to master--and enjoy--this intriguing and relevant subject.

NEW TO THE ELEVENTH EDITION

* New part-opening "Case Studies" present real-life communication challenges on the job, in school,...

Human Communication

Human Communication
by Judy Pearson (Author), Paul Nelson (Author), Scott Titsworth (Author), Angela Hosek (Author)


Human Communication is an integrated program that helps students practice communication skills, build confidence in public speaking, and achieve success in their introductory communication course. With McGraw-Hill LearnSmart in Connect Communication, students separate what they know from what they think they know, following a continually adaptive learning path toward mastery of key concepts. Additionally, Connect provides students with the resources they need to construct well-planned speeches while its highly flexible speech capture tool saves instructors valuable time in managing assignments and evaluating student speeches. Rooted in current scholarship and with an eye on practical, everyday communication scenarios, Human Communication is designed to make introductory communication...

Human Communication: Principles and Contexts

Human Communication: Principles and Contexts
by Stewart Tubbs (Author)


Human Communication is an introductory text that links theory and research with the practical components of communication. This award-winning author presents the fundamental concepts in communication through stimulating case-studies and contemporary examples. The 13th edition includes new discussions of cutting edge research and additional self-tests for students.

The human speech sounds

The human speech sounds
by Charles T. Luthy (Author)


Leopold Classic Library is delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive collection. As part of our on-going commitment to delivering value to the reader, we have also provided you with a link to a website, where you may download a digital version of this work for free. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. Whilst the books in this collection have not been hand curated, an aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature. As a result of this book being first published many decades ago, it may have occasional imperfections. These imperfections may include poor picture quality, blurred or missing text. While some of these...

Islam and Free Speech (Encounter Broadside)

Islam and Free Speech (Encounter Broadside)
by Andrew C McCarthy (Author)


In January 2015, Muslim terrorists massacred cartoonists and writers at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, proclaiming to be avenging Islam’s prophet. The rampage, which included the murders of hostages at a kosher market, prompted global leaders and throngs of citizens to rally in support of free expression. But was the support genuine?

In this Broadside, Andrew C. McCarthy explains how leading Islamists have sought to supplant free expression with the blasphemy standards of Islamic law, gaining the support of the U.S. and other Western governments. But free speech is the lifeblood of a functioning democratic society, essential to our capacity to understand, protect ourselves from, and ultimately defeat our enemies.


© 2015 BrightSurf.com