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


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.

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.
More Human Speech Current Events and Human Speech News Articles

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...

The Course of Human Events (Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities)

The Course of Human Events (Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities)
by David McCullough (Author), David McCullough (Reader)


FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING
AUTHOR OF JOHN ADAMS
On May 15th, 2003 David McCullough presented The Course of Human Events as The 2003 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities in Washington, DC. The Jefferson Lecture is a tribute to McCullough's lifetime investigation of history.
In this short speech, this master historian tracks his fascination with all things historical to his early days in Pittsburgh where he "learned to love history by way of books" in bookshops and at the local library.
McCullough eloquently leads us through the founding fathers' attraction to history, letting us in on his composition of 1776 as well as the Pulitzer Prize winning John Adams. His obvious affection for history is inspiring, because it encompasses the whole reach of the human...

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.

Speech Communications: Human and Machine

Speech Communications: Human and Machine
by Douglas O'Shaughnessy (Author)


"Today the wireless communications industry is heavily dependent upon advanced speech coding techniques, while the integration of personal computers and voice technology is poised for growth. In this revised and updated second edition, a timely overview of the science of speech processing helps you keep pace with these rapidly developing advances.

Students of electrical engineering, along with computer scientists, systems engineers, linguists, audiologists, and psychologists, will find in this one concise volume an interdisciplinary introduction to speech communication. This reference book addresses how humans generate and interpret speech and how machines simulate human speech performance and code speech for efficient transmission. With a skillful blending of the basic principles...

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...

How Language Began: Gesture and Speech in Human Evolution (Approaches to the Evolution of Language)

How Language Began: Gesture and Speech in Human Evolution (Approaches to the Evolution of Language)
by David McNeill (Author)


Human language is not the same as human speech. We use gestures and signs to communicate alongside, or instead of, speaking. Yet gestures and speech are processed in the same areas of the human brain, and the study of how both have evolved is central to research on the origins of human communication. Written by one of the pioneers of the field, this is the first book to explain how speech and gesture evolved together into a system that all humans possess. Nearly all theorizing about the origins of language either ignores gesture, views it as an add-on or supposes that language began in gesture and was later replaced by speech. David McNeill challenges the popular 'gesture-first' theory that language first emerged in a gesture-only form and proposes a groundbreaking theory of the evolution...

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.

Use and Training of the Human Voice: A Practical Approach to Speech and Voice Dynamics

Use and Training of the Human Voice: A Practical Approach to Speech and Voice Dynamics
by Arthur Lessac (Author)


The Use and Training of the Human Voice is now in use in secondary schools, colleges, universities, and professional training programs nationally and internationally. First published in 1960, it is now in its second edition. In 1978 Professor Lessac's second text, BODY WISDOM: The Use and Training of the Human Body, was released. This new work joins The Use and Training of the Human Voice in reflecting the continuing evolution of Professor Lessac's research, development, and applications. Together the two texts, each complete in its own area, may be seen as a first full statement of the Lessac research and training system.

Arthur Lessac developed the Lessac System from over 45 years of study and professional work combined with practical studio teaching to a wide variety of...

Speech and Hearing Science: Anatomy and Physiology (4th Edition)

Speech and Hearing Science: Anatomy and Physiology (4th Edition)
by Willard R. Zemlin (Author)


This comprehensive and highly-popular book is dedicated to the rehabilitation and habilation of the speech and hearing impaired. A solid foundation of anatomy and physiology are not the only things this book provides! also included are more advanced topics such as respiration, phonation, articulation, neurology, and hearing. This exceptional read is perfect for new speech-language pathologists, audiologists, deaf interpreters, physicians, ear, nose, and throat specialists, and others interested in speech and hearing disorders.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com