Effects of enriched auditory experience on infants' speech perception during the first year of life

T. Christina Zhao, Patricia K. Kuhl
2016 Prospect: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education  
Infants rapidly learn language in their home environments. Between 6 and 12 months of age, infants' ability to process the building blocks of speech (i.e., phonetic information) develops quickly, and this ability predicts later language development. Typically, developing infants in a monolingual language environment rapidly tune in to the phonetic information of their native language, while their sensitivity to nonnative phonetic information starts to decrease. Yet, enriched experience to a new
more » ... language during this time significantly improves infants' sensitivity to the sound contrasts used in that language when compared to a control group without exposure to the new language. More recently, a new study examined another type of enriched auditory experience-musical experience-to determine its effect not only on music processing but also on phonetic processing. Results showed that a 1-month laboratory music intervention focusing on rhythm learning enhanced 9-month-old infants' neural processing not only for music but also for speech. Together, these results suggest that these enriched auditory experiences in infancy may improve infants' general auditory pattern-detection skills and their sensitivity to phonetic information.
doi:10.1007/s11125-017-9397-6 fatcat:tmrx7h4bvvf4vouaa6skv7dmoy