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Int J Behav Dev. 2013 Mar 1;37(2):90-94.

Recognition of Amodal Language Identity Emerges in Infancy.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology & Center for Complex Systems & Brain Science Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.
2
Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C), & Departament de Psicologia Bàsica, Facultat de Psicología. Universitat de Barcelona Pg. Vall d'Hebrón 171. 08035, Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

Audiovisual speech consists of overlapping and invariant patterns of dynamic acoustic and optic articulatory information. Research has shown that infants can perceive a variety of basic audio-visual (A-V) relations but no studies have investigated whether and when infants begin to perceive higher order A-V relations inherent in speech. Here, we asked whether and when infants become capable of recognizing amodal language identity, a critical perceptual skill that is necessary for the development of multisensory communication. Because, at a minimum, such a skill requires the ability to perceive suprasegmental auditory and visual linguistic information, we predicted that this skill would not emerge before higher-level speech processing and multisensory integration skills emerge. Consistent with this prediction, we found that recognition of the amodal identity of language emerges at 10-12 months of age but that when it emerges it is restricted to infants' native language.

KEYWORDS:

language; perceptual development, intersensory; speech

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