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Developmental change in children’s speech processing of auditory and visual cues: An eyetracking study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 December 2021

Tania S. ZAMUNER*
Affiliation:
Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Canada
Theresa RABIDEAU
Affiliation:
Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Canada
Margarethe MCDONALD
Affiliation:
Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Canada School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Canada
H. Henny YEUNG
Affiliation:
Department of Linguistics, Simon Fraser University, Canada Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition Centre, UMR 8002, CNRS and University of Paris, France
*
Corresponding author. Tania S. Zamuner, Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Hamelin Hall, 70 Laurier Ave. East, Ottawa ON, Canada K1N 6N5. E-mail: tzamuner@uottawa.ca

Abstract

This study investigates how children aged two to eight years (N = 129) and adults (N = 29) use auditory and visual speech for word recognition. The goal was to bridge the gap between apparent successes of visual speech processing in young children in visual-looking tasks, with apparent difficulties of speech processing in older children from explicit behavioural measures. Participants were presented with familiar words in audio-visual (AV), audio-only (A-only) or visual-only (V-only) speech modalities, then presented with target and distractor images, and looking to targets was measured. Adults showed high accuracy, with slightly less target-image looking in the V-only modality. Developmentally, looking was above chance for both AV and A-only modalities, but not in the V-only modality until 6 years of age (earlier on /k/-initial words). Flexible use of visual cues for lexical access develops throughout childhood.

Type
Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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