Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toddlers don't listen to their own voice like adults do

Date:
December 22, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
When grown-ups and kids speak, they listen to the sound of their voice and make corrections based on that auditory feedback. But new evidence shows that toddlers don't respond to their own voice in quite the same way.

When grown-ups and kids speak, they listen to the sound of their voice and make corrections based on that auditory feedback. But new evidence shows that toddlers don't respond to their own voice in quite the same way, according to a report published online on December 22 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

Related Articles


The findings suggest that very young children must have some other strategy to control their speech production, the researchers say.

"As they play music, violinists will listen to the notes they produce to ensure they are in tune," explained Ewen MacDonald of the Technical University of Denmark. "If they aren't, they will adjust the position of their fingers to bring the notes back in tune. When we speak, we do something very similar. We subconsciously listen to vowel and consonant sounds in our speech to ensure we are producing them correctly. If the acoustics of our speech are slightly different from what we intended, then, like the violinists, we will adjust the way we speak to correct for these slight errors. In our study, we found that four-year-olds monitor their own speech in the same way as adults. Surprisingly, two-year-olds do not."

That's despite the fact that infants readily detect small deviations in the pronunciation of familiar words and babble in a manner consistent with their native language. By the time they turn two, American children have an average vocabulary of about 300 words and appear well on their way to acquiring the sound structure of their native language.

In the experiment, adults, four-year-olds, and two-year-olds said the word "bed" repeatedly while simultaneously hearing themselves say the word "bad." (To elicit those utterances from the young children and toddlers, the researchers developed a video game in which players help a robot cross a virtual playground by saying the robot's 'magic' word "bed.")

"If they repeat this several times, adults spontaneously compensate, changing the way they say the vowel," MacDonald said. "Instead of saying the word 'bed,' they say something more like the word 'bid.'"

Four-year-olds adjusted their speech, too, the researchers show. The two-year-olds, on the other hand, kept right on saying "bed."

MacDonald says the results suggest a need to reconsider assumptions about how children make use of auditory feedback. It may be that two-year-olds depend on their parents or other people to monitor their speech instead of relying on their own voice. MacDonald notes that caregivers often do repeat or reflect back to young children what they've heard them say.

While this study involved children with normal speech development, MacDonald says they'll be exploring potential applications for understanding or addressing delayed and abnormal early speech development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. EwenN. MacDonald, ElizabethK. Johnson, Jaime Forsythe, Paul Plante, KevinG. Munhall. Children's Development of Self-Regulation in Speech Production. Current Biology, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.052

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Toddlers don't listen to their own voice like adults do." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111222133326.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, December 22). Toddlers don't listen to their own voice like adults do. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111222133326.htm
Cell Press. "Toddlers don't listen to their own voice like adults do." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111222133326.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


New Light Shed on How Children Learn to Speak

Jan. 9, 2012 Researchers have discovered that children under the age of two control speech using a different strategy than previously ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins