Visual speech fills in both discrimination and identification of non-intact auditory speech in children

Susan Jerger, Markus Damian, Rachel P. McAlpine, Herve Abdi

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

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To communicate, children must discriminate and identify speech sounds. Because visual speech plays an important role in this process, we explored how visual speech influences phoneme discrimination and identification by children. Critical items had intact visual speech (e.g., bæz) coupled to non-intact (excised onsets) auditory speech (signified by /–b/æz). Children discriminated syllable pairs that differed in intactness (i.e., bæz:/–b/æz) and identified non-intact nonwords (/–b/æz). We predicted that visual speech would cause children to perceive the non-intact onsets as intact, resulting in more same responses for discrimination and more intact (i.e., bæz) responses for identification in the audiovisual than auditory mode. Visual speech for the easy-to-speechread /b/ but not for the difficult-to-speechread /g/ boosted discrimination and identification (about 35-45%) in children from four to fourteen years. The influence of visual speech on discrimination was uniquely associated with the influence of visual speech on identification and receptive vocabulary skills.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Child Language
Early online date20 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jul 2017

Structured keywords

  • Language
  • Cognitive Science


  • Audiovisual Speech
  • Audiovisual Speech Perception
  • Phoneme Discrimination
  • Phoneme Identification
  • Lipreading
  • Multisensory Integration
  • Development


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