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Attention to Infant-Directed Versus Adult-Directed Speech in Normal-Hearing Infants and Hearing-Impaired Infants with Cochlear Implants

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Abstract:

Background and Aims: Recent research has shown that hearing-impaired infants with cochlear implants (CIs) do not prefer speech sounds over silence, as measured by looking time at a checkerboard pattern (Houston, Pisoni, Kirk, Ying, & Miyamoto, 2003). The same infants are capable of discriminating these novel speech sounds even though they do not prefer them to silence. Are infants with CIs simply uninterested in speech sounds? It is well known that young infants with normal hearing prefer the highly exaggerated characteristics of infant-directed speech to adult-directed speech. It might also be the case that implanted infants would attend more to speech over silence if the speech were presented in an infant-directed manner. The present study investigated the effects of auditory deprivation and cochlear implantation on infants’ attention to infant-directed speech, adult-directed speech, and silence.
Methods: We tested normal-hearing (NH) 4.5- to 24.5-month-old infants (N = 70) and hearing-impaired infants with CIs (N = 3). Using an infant-controlled visual preference procedure, attention was measured by infants’ looking time to a checkerboard pattern. We presented infants with three conditions: 1) ID speech, in which four women produced four sentences in an infant-directed manner, 2) AD speech, in which the same women produced the same four sentences in an adult-directed manner, and 3) silence.
Key Results: As expected, the results revealed that 4.5- and 12-month-old NH infants looked longer at the checkerboard pattern during ID speech more than AD speech and silence (p < .01). Although 6- and 24-month-old NH infants preferred speech over silence (p < .01), they did not show any preference for ID speech over AD speech. Surprisingly, all three hearing-impaired infants with CIs preferred silence to both ID speech and AD speech.
Conclusions: Most previous studies that have shown preferences for infant-directed over adult-directed speech have been conducted with infants younger than 5 months of age. Perhaps the results of the normal-hearing infants reveal a developmental trend to attend to different properties of speech as they acquire speech perception and language skills (e.g., phonology, lexicon). The unexpected results of the CI infants may be due to their unique speech therapy experiences in which they are trained to explicitly respond to sound, or may be due to other issues associated with hearing-impairment. These important new findings serve to broaden understanding of implanted infants’ abilities to perceive and understand speech.
[Supported by NIH/NIDCD Training Grant T32DC00012 and NIH/NIDCD Research Grant R01DC006235.]

Author's Keywords:

infant-directed speech, deafness, cochlear implant
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Association:
Name: XVth Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies
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http://www.isisweb.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p93943_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Bergeson, Tonya., Spisak, Kristen. and Houston, Derek. "Attention to Infant-Directed Versus Adult-Directed Speech in Normal-Hearing Infants and Hearing-Impaired Infants with Cochlear Implants" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the XVth Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, Westin Miyako, Kyoto, Japan, Jun 19, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p93943_index.html>

APA Citation:

Bergeson, T. R., Spisak, K. and Houston, D. M. , 2006-06-19 "Attention to Infant-Directed Versus Adult-Directed Speech in Normal-Hearing Infants and Hearing-Impaired Infants with Cochlear Implants" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the XVth Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, Westin Miyako, Kyoto, Japan <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p93943_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Background and Aims: Recent research has shown that hearing-impaired infants with cochlear implants (CIs) do not prefer speech sounds over silence, as measured by looking time at a checkerboard pattern (Houston, Pisoni, Kirk, Ying, & Miyamoto, 2003). The same infants are capable of discriminating these novel speech sounds even though they do not prefer them to silence. Are infants with CIs simply uninterested in speech sounds? It is well known that young infants with normal hearing prefer the highly exaggerated characteristics of infant-directed speech to adult-directed speech. It might also be the case that implanted infants would attend more to speech over silence if the speech were presented in an infant-directed manner. The present study investigated the effects of auditory deprivation and cochlear implantation on infants’ attention to infant-directed speech, adult-directed speech, and silence.
Methods: We tested normal-hearing (NH) 4.5- to 24.5-month-old infants (N = 70) and hearing-impaired infants with CIs (N = 3). Using an infant-controlled visual preference procedure, attention was measured by infants’ looking time to a checkerboard pattern. We presented infants with three conditions: 1) ID speech, in which four women produced four sentences in an infant-directed manner, 2) AD speech, in which the same women produced the same four sentences in an adult-directed manner, and 3) silence.
Key Results: As expected, the results revealed that 4.5- and 12-month-old NH infants looked longer at the checkerboard pattern during ID speech more than AD speech and silence (p < .01). Although 6- and 24-month-old NH infants preferred speech over silence (p < .01), they did not show any preference for ID speech over AD speech. Surprisingly, all three hearing-impaired infants with CIs preferred silence to both ID speech and AD speech.
Conclusions: Most previous studies that have shown preferences for infant-directed over adult-directed speech have been conducted with infants younger than 5 months of age. Perhaps the results of the normal-hearing infants reveal a developmental trend to attend to different properties of speech as they acquire speech perception and language skills (e.g., phonology, lexicon). The unexpected results of the CI infants may be due to their unique speech therapy experiences in which they are trained to explicitly respond to sound, or may be due to other issues associated with hearing-impairment. These important new findings serve to broaden understanding of implanted infants’ abilities to perceive and understand speech.
[Supported by NIH/NIDCD Training Grant T32DC00012 and NIH/NIDCD Research Grant R01DC006235.]

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