Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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Development of voicing perception in French: Comparing adults, adolescents and children.

Previous studies suggest that the development of the perception of speech features is based on the adaptation of universal predispositions to the particular categories present in the native language. Previous studies point to a long-lasting development of the location and the precision of perceptual boundaries. However, there is no clear evidence about changes in "categorical perception", i.e. in the degree of equivalence of identification and discrimination boundaries. The objective of the present study was to investigate the development of boundary location and precision between late childhood and adulthood, and to gather evidence for possible changes in categorical perception during this period. Voicing perception in French stops was investigated with both identification and discrimination data in children (9-year-olds), adolescents (17-year-olds) and adults. The results confirmed the effect of age on boundary precision, but did not show an effect of age on either boundary location or on categorical perception. The results also suggest that the development of categorization performance starts around the boundary and is followed by decreased sensitivity near the prototypes