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Information about ASHAjess

Published on October 23, 2007

Author: Gourangi


Infant perceptual performance and later lexical patterns during narrative tasks:  Infant perceptual performance and later lexical patterns during narrative tasks Jessica Ter Avest, Melanie Hill, Nan Bernstein Ratner and Rochelle Newman The University of Maryland, College Park Abstract:  Abstract A large body of literature confirms that infants come to the language-learning process with facilitative speech processing abilities, including the ability to detect word boundaries in fluent speech. In the numerous reports and meta-analyses of this typical profile, individual differences have usually been overlooked. In this report, we relate individual infants’ abilities in infant laboratory experiments to patterns of later language development, specifically lexical profiles, and discuss their ramifications. Background:  Background A large amount of research has examined infants’ ability to segment the running stream of speech. Segmentation:  Segmentation Infants can reliably locate words within the fluent speech signal by 7.5 months, Jusczyk & Aslin, 1995 can store this information over long stretches of time Jusczyk & Hohne, 1997 and can do so in the presence of competing noise and talker variability Houston & Jusczyk, 2000; Jusczyk, Pisoni & Mullennix, 1992; Newman & Jusczyk, 1996 The question:  The question In all of these studies, MOST infants performed the task at above chance-levels, but SOME did not. Most studies of infant speech processing report on abilities evidenced by the majority of infant participants, and only report group results. Few studies link data from individual children across a range of ages. Segmentation and later language ability?:  Segmentation and later language ability? Do individual differences among infants’ speech processing abilities relate to those infants’ later language acquisition? A handful of studies have attempted to answer this question: Molfese and colleagues (speech sound lateralization) Trehub & Henderson (1996) (stop-gap detection) Benasich & colleagues (2002a,b) (Rapid Auditory Processing) Tsao, Liu & Kuhl (2004) (vowel discrimination) Participants:  Participants Participants were 26 children who had participated in speech segmentation studies at 7-12 months of age. Our particular focus was later language development for 12 children who had shown speech segmentation ability (“segmenters”) and for 14 who had not (“nonsgmenters”). Statisical analyses were run to examine whether infant perceptual performance affected any later-assessed abilities including the lexical characteristics of the children’s narratives, produced in response to the picture book, Frog, where are you? Participants (continued):  Participants (continued) The group of children showing evidence of segmentation ability had an average age of 54.3 months (range 48.5 – 67.9), while children not evidencing segmentation ability had an average age of 56.6 months (range 49.7 – 69.0).This distribution is not significantly different (t(25) = .98, p >.30). Maternal level of education for “segmenters” was 17.2 years; that for mothers of “non-segmenters” was 16.8 years. This distribution does not differ significantly (t(25) = 0.89, p >.38). Formal language test results:  Formal language test results Overall spoken language quotient on TOLD-3: Segmenters: mean quotient of 125 Nonsegmenters: mean quotient of 111 Significant difference: (t(25)=2.44, p<.05, eta-squared = .192, indicating a large effect) Results, language:  Results, language Semantics subscale on TOLD-3: Segmenters:120, non-segmenters 108 Significant difference: (t (25)=2.21, p<.05, eta-squared = 0.163, large effect). Syntax subscale on TOLD-3: Segmenters: 126, non-segmenters 112 Significant difference: (t(25)=2.26, p<.05, eta-squared = 0.170, large effect Lexical analyses:  Lexical analyses We focused on the following measures of lexical usage: Type-Token Ratio, use of non-specific reference terms (e.g., deictics and pronouns, rather than nouns), and frank grammatical errors as well as lexical errors (e.g., calling the deer a “moose”). We also computed the relative fluency of the stories by counting the number of mazes and retraces. Results: Type-Token ratios in narratives:  Results: Type-Token ratios in narratives Type-token ratio (TTR): The two groups of children were not obviously different on this measure of lexical diversity. The mean TTR for children who had been segmenters as infants was .428, while that for non-segmenters was .409, a non-significant difference. Deictic and non-specific vocabulary:  Deictic and non-specific vocabulary Deictic and non-specific vocabulary: There was a significant trend (p < .05, 1-tailed) for children who had been segmenters to use fewer non-specific lexical items in telling the Frog story. The mean proportion of deictics over total vocabulary was 5.1% for the infants who were segmenters, while it was significantly higher at 6.4% for infants who had not shown speech segmentation skills at 7.5 months. Errors:  Errors Grammatical errors: As might be expected from standardized test scores, non-segmenters showed more grammatical errors during story telling (mean 6.57% of utterances) than did children who had been segmenters (mean = 2.95% of utterances, p <.05, 1-tailed). Lexical errors: There was a non-significant trend for children who had been nonsegmenters to misname some of the characters in the story; 3.8% of their words were in error, while only 2.65% of referents were misnamed by children who had been segmenters as infants. Examples of children’s errors:  Examples of children’s errors Grammatical errors: Past tense errors: falled, stinged Agreement errors: he wonder Lexical errors: For deer: antelope, moose, reindeer. For groundhog: bunny, beaver, squirrel, hamster, skunk For bees: birds, mosquitoes For owl: falcon For pond: the Nile, the ocean Mazes and retraces:  Mazes and retraces Mazes and retraces: There was a non-significant trend for children who had segmented as infants to produce more fluent narratives, with a mean of 5.6% retraces, compared to a mean of 8.14% retraces for their peers who had been unable to segment speech at 7.5 months. Infant speech perception, later language, and later IQ:  Infant speech perception, later language, and later IQ While our results could be attributable to differences in cognitive ability in the original sample of infants, follow-up using the nonverbal portion of the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test suggest that language abilities, but not intelligence, are related to earlier infant speech processing abilities. Results: K-BIT non-verbal scores:  Results: K-BIT non-verbal scores K-BIT Matrices: Segmenters: 111 nonsegmenters: 112 a nonsignificant difference (in addition to being in the opposite direction we might have predicted; t(25)=-0.38, p=.71, eta-squared = 0.006) Conclusions:  Conclusions How infants perform on speech segmentation tasks at ages 7-12 months is strongly related to their later language performance at ages 4 - 6 years. This does not appear to be the result of simple intelligence differences, as segmenters did not perform better on a nonverbal intelligence measure. Discussion:  Discussion If a child is better able to locate word boundaries in the input, this appears to help them develop their vocabulary in later years. It also appears to facilitate later grammatical development, as shown both in formal test results and narratives, possibly because it foreshadows the skill to detect and use small, unstressed function words and bound inflections that form the basis of early grammatical development in children. Future work:  Future work Future work should examine these relationships prospectively, examining infant language skills beyond segmentation. Thus, we should follow a single group of children from early laboratory performance through to later stages of language development to identify relationships among these skills. This may lead to greater ability to identify children at increased risk for language delay and disorder. Acknowledgments:  Acknowledgments Funding for this study was provided by the Bamford-Lahey Children’s Foundation. The original laboratory work with the infants that is reported here was supported by NICHD (15795) to PWJ, and a Senior Scientist Award from NIMH (01490) to PWJ. References:  References Benasich, A., & Tallal, P. (2002). Infant discrimination of rapid auditory cues predicts later language impairment. Behavioral Brain Research, 136, 31-49. Benasich, A., Thomas, J., Choudhury, N., & Lappänen, P. (2002). The importance of rapid auditory procesing abilities to early language development: Evidence from converging methodologies. Developmental Psychobiology, 40, 278-292. Houston, D. M., & Jusczyk, P. W. (2000). The role of talker-specific information in word segmentation by infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 26(5), 1570-1582. Jusczyk, P. W. (1997). The discovery of spoken language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Jusczyk, P. W., & Aslin, R. N. (1995). Infants’ detection of the sound patterns of words in fluent speech. Cognitive Psychology, 28, 1-23. Jusczyk, P. W., & Hohne, E. A. (1997). Infants' memory for spoken words. Science, 277, 1984-1986. Slide24:  Jusczyk, P. W., Houston, D. M., & Newsome, M. (1999). The beginnings of word segmentation in English-learning infants. Cognitive Psychology, 39, 159-207. Jusczyk, P. W., Pisoni, D. B., & Mullennix, J. (1992). Some consequences of talker variability on speech perception by 2-month-old infants. Cognition, 43, 253-291. Kaufman, A., & Kaufman, N. (1990). Kaufman – Brief Intelligence Test. Circle Pines, MN: AGS. Molfese, D. L. (1989). The use of auditory evoken responses recorded from newborns to predict later language skills. In N. Paul (Ed.), Research in infant assessment (Vol. 25, No. 6, pp. 68-81). White Plains, NY: March of Dimes. Molfese, D. L. (1992). The use of neuropsychological measures to predict long-term outcomes in new-born human infants. In M. Tramontana & S. Hooper (Eds.), Advances in child neuropsychology, Volume I. New York: Springer Verlag. Molfese, D. L., & Molfese, V. J. (1985). Electrophysiological indices of auditory discrimination in newborn infants: The bases for predicting later language development. Infant Behavior and Development, 8, 197-211. Slide25:  Molfese, D. L., & Molfese, V. J. (1997). Discrimination of language skills at five years of age using event related potentials recorded at birth. Developmental Neuropsychology, 13, 135-156. Molfese, D. L., Molfese, V. J., & Espy, K. A. (1999). The predictive use of event related potentials in language development and the treatment of language disorders. Developmental Neuropsychology, 16, 373-377. Molfese, D. L., & Searock, K. (1986). The use of auditory evoked responses at 1 year of age to predict language skills at 3 years. Australian Journal of Communication Disorders, 14, 35-46. Newcomer, P., & Hammill, D. (1997). Test of Language Development - Primary (TOLD-P3). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. Newman, R. S., & Jusczyk, P. W. (1996). The cocktail party effect in infants. Perception & Psychophysics, 58(8), 1145-1156. Trehub, S. E., & Henderson, J. (1996). Temporal resolution in infancy and subsequent language development. Journal of Speech, Language, & Hearing Research, 39, 1315-1320. Tsao, F.-M., Liu, H.-M., & Kuhl, P. K. (2004). Speech perception in infancy predicts language development in the second year of life: A longitudinal study. Child Development, 75, 1067-1084.

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