Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Theaux, Heather M URN etd-1624102249741411 Title Discrimination of Linguistic and Prosodic Information In Infant-Directed Speech by Six-Month-Olds Degree Master of Science Department Psychology Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Bell, Martha Ann Crawford, Helen J. Cooper, Robin K. Panneton Committee Chair Keywords
- word discrimination
- pitch contours
- infant directed speech
Date of Defense 1997-05-08 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of the present study was to tease apart the paralinguistic from the
linguistic aspects of infants' perception of infant-directed (ID) speech. Several
studies have shown that infants beginning at a few days after birth discriminate
native from nonnative speech and can discriminate specific contours (rising, falling,
rising-falling) in ID speech. Some studies have also indicated that infants at
4.5 months of age prefer their own name over other names but at 6 months of age,
fail to prefer a sentence with their own name embedded in it. Using a discrimination
procedure, the current study investigated whether 6-month-old infants could detect
a change in contour and/or a change in words when listening to ID utterances.
Results indicated that 6-month-old infants detected both a contour and a word
change. From these results, it is argued that as has been shown in other exper-
iments, infants are extremely sensitive to subtle changes in speech. Furthermore,
ID speech appears to facilitate infants' ability to discriminate small changes in
ID speech (both linguistic and paralinguistic). It is suggested that future studies
investigate more discrete changes in speech samples and a replication of this
research with adult-directed (AD) speech.
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