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Baby Lab

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Viewing the development of speech perception as an innately guided learning process

Explores how speech sounds may be treated by infants as special signals relative to other kinds of acoustic stimuli, focusing on the view that the mechanisms underlying the infant's perception of speech are specialized for this purpose. Difficulties of providing definitive evidence for or against this position are noted. It is hypothesized that special processing of speech may lie in the inherent salience that such sounds have for infants; it is suggested that the development of speech perception follows the course of an innately guided learning process. One key assumption of this view is that speech sounds may be more apt to attract attention or have a higher priority for further processing than other types of acoustic signals. Recent evidence is reviewed and related to the innately guided learning theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)



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