When: 12 PM
Over the past four decades we have learned a great deal about how infants perceive and decode the speech input around them and directed to them. Yet we know very little about how infants perceive their own vocalizations or speech with the unique vocal properties of an infant talker. This leaves a serious gap in our understanding of infant language development. In this talk I will present findings from a new line of research that begins to address this neglected aspect of infant speech development by exploring how infants perceive speech with infant vocal properties. To accomplish this we used the Variable Linear Articulatory Model (VLAM) to create vowel sounds that conform to talkers across a wide age including a 6-month- old infant. We tested pre-babbling infants to learn how babies respond to infant speech sounds before they are competent speech producers with ready access to infant speech sounds. I will present findings from vowel categorization and listening preference experiments which provide new insights into the perceptual resources that guide infant speech development. I will also outline some new research directions emerging from our initial work that promise to open up our understanding of interactions between perception and production in early development.