Dr. Sheri Dawoon Choi Postdoc, Turk-Browne Lab, Yale University
Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 12:30pm
Speech Perception and the Sensorimotor System in Infancy
ABSTRACT: Infants show robust auditory and audio-visual speech sensitivities, even to non-native speech that they have not experienced before. One under-considered sensory domain in the context of speech development is that of sensorimotor-auditory speech relation. In this talk, I present behavioral (eye-tracking) and neural (EEG) evidence that preverbal infants’ multisensory sensitivities to speech extend to include somatosensory speech information. These studies show that sensorimotor information influences infants’ speech perception in an articulator-specific manner even before the onset of canonical babbling. I bridge these data within the perspective of recent advancements in developmental neuroscience, primarily based on animal models, that demonstrate the complex relationship between hard-wired neural code, spontaneous neural dynamics, and experience. These emerging developmental models provide a plausible framework for the ontogeny of even higher cognitive functions such as language acquisition.