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


Fight or flight? Vocal cues help deer decide during mating season
Previous studies have shown that male fallow deer, known as bucks, can call for a mate more than 3000 times per hour during the rut (peak of the mating season), and their efforts in calling, fighting and mating can leave them sounding hoarse.

Neanderthal lineages excavated from modern human genomes
A substantial fraction of the Neanderthal genome persists in modern human populations. A new approach applied to analyzing whole-genome sequencing data from 665 people from Europe and East Asia shows that more than 20 percent of the Neanderthal genome survives in the DNA of this contemporary group, whose genetic information is part of the 1,000 Genomes Project.

Monkeys 'understand' rules underlying language musicality
Many of us have mixed feelings when remembering painful lessons in German or Latin grammar in school.

Primate calls, like human speech, can help infants form categories
Human infants' responses to the vocalizations of non-human primates shed light on the developmental origin of a crucial link between human language and core cognitive capacities, a new study reports.

Obesity associated with hearing loss in adolescents
Obese adolescents are more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to have hearing loss, according to results of a new study.

How human language could have evolved from birdsong
"The sounds uttered by birds offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language," Charles Darwin wrote in "The Descent of Man" (1871), while contemplating how humans learned to speak.

Banded mongooses structure monosyllabic sounds in a similar way to humans
Animals are more eloquent than previously assumed. Even the monosyllabic call of the banded mongoose is structured and thus comparable with the vowel and consonant system of human speech.

Applying information theory to linguistics
The majority of languages - roughly 85 percent of them - can be sorted into two categories: those, like English, in which the basic sentence form is subject-verb-object ("the girl kicks the ball"), and those, like Japanese, in which the basic sentence form is subject-object-verb ("the girl the ball kicks").

What number is halfway between 1 and 9? Is it 5 - or 3?
Ask adults from the industrialized world what number is halfway between 1 and 9, and most will say 5. But pose the same question to small children, or people living in some traditional societies, and they're likely to answer 3.

Study unveils clue to the origin of dyslexia
Because dyslexia affects so many people around the world, countless studies have attempted to pinpoint the source of the learning disorder.
More Human Speech Current Events and Human Speech News Articles

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,...

Invitation to Human Communication

Invitation to Human Communication
by Cindy Griffin (Author), Jennifer Emerling Bone (Author)


INVITATION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION, working in partnership with National Geographic, acknowledges the complexity of today's world, the power of communication, and the necessity of teaching students the foundational skills they will need to both compete and succeed in this complex and exciting environment.

Free Speech and Human Dignity

Free Speech and Human Dignity
by Steven J. Heyman (Author)


Debates over hate speech, pornography, and other sorts of controversial speech raise issues that go to the core of the First Amendment. Supporters of regulation argue that these forms of expression cause serious injury to individuals and groups, assaulting their dignity as human beings and citizens. Civil libertarians respond that our commitment to free speech is measured by our willingness to protect it, even when it causes harm or offends our deepest values. In this important book, Steven J. Heyman presents a theory of the First Amendment that seeks to overcome the conflict between free speech and human dignity. This liberal humanist theory recognizes a strong right to freedom of expression while also providing protection against the most serious forms of assaultive speech. Heyman then...

A Documentary History of Human Rights: A Record of the Events, Documents and Speeches that Shaped Our World

A Documentary History of Human Rights: A Record of the Events, Documents and Speeches that Shaped Our World
by Jon E. Lewis (Author)


Drawn from great speeches, constitutional documents, philosophy, private letters and diaries, religious works, and histories, the 300 extracts in this collection mark defining moments in the progress of humankind through four millennia on its path to political, religious, and intellectual freedom. This volume affirms human achievement on every page. Among its many and diverse voices are Anne Frank, Plato, Lillian Hellman, William Wordsworth, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Tom Paine, Sir Walter Raleigh, Demosthenes, Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill, St. Francis, and Jesus. Their words find the sense in the variable course of human events, and their truths survive the vicissitudes of history. Arranged chronologically, the documents present centuries of truths that have set men and...

Human Communication

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

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.

The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to the Present

The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to the Present
by Micheline Ishay (Author)


The second edition of The Human Rights Reader presents a dramatically revised organization and updated selections, including pieces on globalization and the war on terrorism. Each part of the Reader corresponds to five historical phases in the history of human rights and explores for each the arguments, debates, and issues of inclusiveness central to those eras. This edition is the most comprehensive and up-to-date collection of essays, speeches, and documents from historical and contemporary sources, all of which are now placed in context with Micheline Ishay’s substantial introduction to the reader as a whole and valuable introductions to each part and chapter.

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.

Animal Cruelty and Freedom of Speech: When Worlds Collide (New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond)

Animal Cruelty and Freedom of Speech: When Worlds Collide (New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond)
by Abigail Perdue (Author), Randall Lockwood (Author)


A collaboration between an attorney and an animal protection advocate, this work utilizes the extremely controversial and high-profile "crush video" case, US v. Stevens, to explore how American society attempts to balance the protection of free speech and the prevention of animal cruelty. Starting from the detailed case study of a single prominent ruling, the authors provide a masterful survey of important issues facing society in the area of animal welfare. The Stevens case included various "hot topic" elements connected to the role of government as arbiter of public morality, including judicial attitudes to sexual deviance and dogfighting. Because it is one of only two animal rights cases that the US Supreme Court has handled, and the only case discussing the competing interests of free...

Human Communication

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


The second 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 such mainstream communication journals as Communication Education, Communication Monographs, and Communication Studies. To "keep it real," the authors synthesized their findings so that they resonate with the challenges and goals of today's typical basic course. Every chapter features skill-building, critical thinking, innovative pedagogy, 21st century examples, and lively writing that is respectful of the student reader. Human Communication, Second...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com