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Another bilingual advantage? Perception of talker-voice information


A bilingual advantage has been found in both cognitive and social tasks. In the current study, we examine whether there is a bilingual advantage in how children process information about who is talking (talker-voice information). Younger and older groups of monolingual and bilingual children completed the following talker-voice tasks with bilingual speakers: a discrimination task in English and German (an unfamiliar language), and a talker-voice learning task in which they learned to identify the voices of three unfamiliar speakers in English. Results revealed effects of age and bilingual status. Across the tasks, older children performed better than younger children and bilingual children performed better than monolingual children. Improved talker-voice processing by the bilingual children suggests that a bilingual advantage exists in a social aspect of speech perception, where the focus is not on processing the linguistic information in the signal, but instead on processing information about who is talking.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Susannah Levi, New York University, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, 665 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012,
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This work was supported by a grant from the NIH-NIDCD: 1R03DC009851-01A2. We would like to thank Jennifer Bruno, Emma Mack, Alexandra Muratore, Sydney Robert, and Margo Waltz for help with data collection, three anonymous reviewers for their extremely helpful comments, and the children and families for their participation.

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