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  Constraints on infants’ ability to extract non-adjacent dependencies from vowels and consonants

Weyers, I., Männel, C., & Mueller, J. L. (2022). Constraints on infants’ ability to extract non-adjacent dependencies from vowels and consonants. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 57: 101149. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2022.101149.

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 Creators:
Weyers, Ivonne1, 2, Author
Männel, Claudia3, 4, Author                 
Mueller, Jutta L. 1, 2, Author
Affiliations:
1Department of Linguistics, University Vienna, Austria, ou_persistent22              
2Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, Leipzig, DE, ou_634551              

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Free keywords: Vowels; Consonants; Non-adjacent dependency; EEG; Artificial language; Language acquisition
 Abstract: Language acquisition requires infants’ ability to track dependencies between distant speech elements. Infants as young as 3 months have been shown to successfully identify such non-adjacent dependencies between syllables, and this ability has been related to the maturity of infants’ pitch processing. The present study tested whether 8- to 10-month-old infants (N = 68) can also learn dependencies at smaller segmental levels and whether the relation between dependency and pitch processing extends to other auditory features. Infants heard either syllable sequences encoding an item-specific dependency between non-adjacent vowels or between consonants. These frequent standard sequences were interspersed with infrequent intensity deviants and dependency deviants, which violated the non-adjacent relationship. Both vowel and consonant groups showed electrophysiological evidence for detection of the intensity manipulation. However, evidence for dependency learning was only found for infants hearing the dependencies across vowels, not consonants, and only in a subgroup of infants who had an above-average language score in a behavioral test. In a correlation analysis, we found no relation between intensity and dependency processing. We conclude that item-specific, segment-based non-adjacent dependencies are not easily learned by infants and if so, vowels are more accessible to the task, but only to infants who display advanced language skills.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022-08-292022-05-032022-08-302022-08-312022-10
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2022.101149
Other: online ahead of print
PMID: 36084447
PMC: PMC9465114
 Degree: -

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Title: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Amsterdam : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 57 Sequence Number: 101149 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1878-9293
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1878-9293