ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4aSP15. Do infants remember voices?

Peter W. Jusczyk

Elizabeth A. Hohne

Ann Marie Jusczyk

Nancy J. Redanz

Dept. of Psychol., Park Hall, SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260

Recent research on infants' representation of speech typically focuses on linguistic features such as phonetic and prosodic cues. However, speech also carries information about things such as emotional tone and talker identity. To what extent do infants extract and remember such information from the speech signal? The present study asks whether infants preserve information about talker identity when they encode information from speech. Infants 7.5 to 8.25 months old were exposed to recordings of stories read by the same talker for 10 days in a 2-week time period. Two weeks later, the infants were tested in a head turn preference procedure. The stimuli were lists of words from the stories. Half of the lists were produced by the original talker; the other half by a novel talker. The infants listened significantly longer to the familiar voice suggesting that they developed a representation of that voice. An ongoing study is investigating whether infants actually listen longer to familiar words from the stories or to novel items of the same phonetic complexity and lexical frequency. [Work supported by NICHD.]