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Suprasegmental Information Affects Processing of Talking Faces at Birth

Abstract : From birth, newborns show a preference for faces talking a native language compared to silent faces. The present study addresses two questions that remained unanswered by previous research: (a) Does the familiarity with the language play a role in this process and (b) Are all the linguistic and paralinguistic cues necessary in this case? Experiment 1 extended newborns' preference for native speakers to non-native ones. Given that fetuses and newborns are sensitive to the prosodic characteristics of speech, Experiments 2 and 3 presented faces talking native and nonnative languages with the speech stream being low-pass filtered. Results showed that newborns preferred looking at a person who talked to them even when only the prosodic cues were provided for both languages. Nonetheless, a familiarity preference for the previously talking face is observed in the "normal speech" condition (i.e., Experiment 1) and a novelty preference in the "filtered speech" condition (Experiments 2 and 3). This asymmetry reveals that newborns process these two types of stimuli differently and that they may already be sensitive to a mismatch between the articulatory movements of the face and the corresponding speech sounds.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 10:46:19 AM
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Bahia Guellaï, Karima Mersad, Arlette Streri. Suprasegmental Information Affects Processing of Talking Faces at Birth. Infant Behavior & Development, 2015, 38, pp.11-19. ⟨10.1016/j.infbeh.2014.11.003⟩. ⟨hal-01478455⟩



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