Children use visual speech to compensate for non-intact auditory speech

Susan Jerger*, Markus F. Damian, Nancy Tye-Murray, Herve Abdi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated whether visual speech fills in non-intact auditory speech (excised consonant onsets) in typically developing children from 4 to 14 years of age. Stimuli with the excised auditory onsets were presented in the audiovisual (AV) and auditory-only (AO) modes. A visual speech fill-in effect occurs when listeners experience hearing the same non-intact auditory stimulus (e.g., /-b/ag) as different depending on the presence/absence of visual speech such as hearing /bag/ in the AV mode but hearing /ag/ in the AO mode. We quantified the visual speech fill-in effect by the difference in the number of correct consonant onset responses between the modes. We found that easy visual speech cues /b/ provided greater filling in than difficult cues /g/. Only older children benefited from difficult visual speech cues, whereas all children benefited from easy visual speech cues, although 4- and 5-year-olds did not benefit as much as older children. To explore task demands, we compared results on our new task with those on the McGurk task. The influence of visual speech was uniquely associated with age and vocabulary abilities for the visual speech fill-in effect but was uniquely associated with speechreading skills for the McGurk effect. This dissociation implies that visual speech as processed by children is a complicated and multifaceted phenomenon underpinned by heterogeneous abilities. These results emphasize that children perceive a speaker's utterance rather than the auditory stimulus per se. In children, as in adults, there is more to speech perception than meets the ear. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-312
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume126
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Structured keywords

  • Language

Keywords

  • McGurk effect
  • Speechreading
  • Children
  • Audiovisual speech perception
  • Lipreading
  • Development
  • SPOKEN WORD RECOGNITION
  • AUDIOVISUAL SPEECH
  • PHONOTACTIC PROBABILITY
  • PERCEPTUAL RESTORATION
  • PHONEMIC RESTORATION
  • ENGLISH
  • ADULTS
  • INFORMATION
  • LANGUAGE
  • NONWORDS

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