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ERIC Number: EJ892487
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Structural Generalizations over Consonants and Vowels in 11-Month-Old Infants
Pons, Ferran; Toro, Juan M.
Cognition, v116 n3 p361-367 Sep 2010
Recent research has suggested consonants and vowels serve different roles during language processing. While statistical computations are preferentially made over consonants but not over vowels, simple structural generalizations are easily made over vowels but not over consonants. Nevertheless, the origins of this asymmetry are unknown. Here we tested if a lifelong experience with language is necessary for vowels to become the preferred target for structural generalizations. We presented 11-month-old infants with a series of CVCVCV nonsense words in which all vowels were arranged according to an AAB rule (first and second vowels were the same, while the third vowel was different). During the test, we presented infants with new words whose vowels either followed or not, the aforementioned rule. We found that infants readily generalized this rule when implemented over the vowels. However, when the same rule was implemented over the consonants, infants could not generalize it to new instances. These results parallel those found with adult participants and demonstrate that several years of experience learning a language are not necessary for functional asymmetries between consonants and vowels to appear. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A