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Dev Psychobiol. 2004 Dec;45(4):187-203.

Is the integration of heard and seen speech mandatory for infants?

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4.


For adults and children, speech perception can be significantly influenced by watching a speaker's mouth movements. While recent reports suggest that infants may be able to integrate heard and seen speech, the current research demonstrates that integration is neither as strong or consistent in infants as it is in adults. Three habituation experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, female (but not male) infants showed evidence of an adult pattern of integration following habituation with an audiovisual /bi/ and testing with audio /bi/-visual /vi/ (perceived as /vi/ by adults). The interpretation of integration was supported, but only in part, by Experiment 2. In Experiment 3, infants were habituated to a mismatched audio /bi/-visual /vi/ combination and tested on concordant /bi/-/bi/ versus /vi/-/vi/ displays. Here, only male infants showed evidence of integration. These results suggest that an initial mechanism supports integration, but that integration is not mandatory for young infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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