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Functional Neuroimaging of Speech Perception in Infants. Dehaene-Lambertz , G. , Dehaene S., and Hertz-Pannier, L. By Divya Patel. Why study infants?. Adult human brain: anatomical and functional specialization for speech processing How? clarify how it emerges through development.

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functional neuroimaging of speech perception in infants

Functional Neuroimaging of Speech Perception in Infants

Dehaene-Lambertz, G. , Dehaene S., and Hertz-Pannier, L.

By Divya Patel

why study infants
Why study infants?
  • Adult human brain: anatomical and functional specialization for speech processing
  • How?
    • clarify how it emerges through development
language and infants
Language and infants?
  • Considerable language takes place in the 1st year
  • Development in:
    • Phonology: organization of sounds
    • Prosody: tone of voice, rhythm
    • Word segmentation: when a word starts/ends
motivation
Motivation
  • Not much known about brain mechanisms
  • Studies mostly use ERPs
    • Great  know temporal lobes contain neural circuit for phoneme discrimination
    • Not as great  do not provide spatial information
  • This study uses fMRI
experimental design
Experimental Design

20 healthy, non-sedated infants (2-3mo)

Speech = highly intonated female voice; in French

20s of forward

speech

20s of backward

speech

20s Silence

20s Silence

hypothesis
Hypothesis
  • Forward speech = ↑ activation than backward speech
  • Fast temporal auditory transitions and phonetic information will be jointly activated
activation to sound
Activation to Sound
  • Similar to adults
brain lateralization
Brain Lateralization
  • Similar to adults
forward speech vs backward speech
Forward Speech vs. Backward Speech
  • In adults, the area is left superior temporal sulcus
was the hypothesis supported
Was the hypothesis supported?
  • Forward speech = ↑ activation than backward speech in left angular gyrus and left mesial parietal lobe
  • Fast temporal auditory transitions and phonetic information will be jointly activated in left temporal lobe
    • From superior temporal gyrus to surrounding areas of superior temporal sulcus

Yes

other underlying mechanisms
Other underlying mechanisms?
  • In adults:
    • Precuneus and dorsolateral PFC (dlPFC) activated during retrieval
  • In infants:
    • Precuneus and dlPFC activated
      • May indicate early engagement of active memory retrieval mechanism

Yes, there seems to be

slide13
Strengths

Limitations

Not enough background

Assumed all readers would know basic infant brain development

  • Approaches were different than prior studies
    • Used fMRI
    • Used non-sedated babies
  • Very straight forward
  • Images corresponding to brain parts
future directions
Future Directions
  • It would be interesting to do a longitudinal study, to understand when exactly the changes take place
  • To create a study where retrieval can be tested, perhaps through habituation
  • To find specific evidence for either
    • nativist view (language mechanisms are innate)
    • interactionist view (language mechanisms are developed through interaction)
slide15
QUESTIONS?

Dehaene-Lambertz G, Dehaene S, Hertz-Pannier L. (2002) Functional neuroimaging of speech perception in infants. Science 298(5600):2013-5.

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