UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Lip Movements Affect Infant Audiovisual Speech Perception Yeung, Ho Henny; Werker, Janet


Speech is robustly audiovisual from early in infancy. Here we show that audiovisual speech perception in 4.5-month-old infants is further influenced by sensorimotor information from lip movements made while chewing or sucking. Experiment 1 consisted of a classic audiovisual matching procedure, where two simultaneously displayed talking faces (visual [i] and [u]) were presented with a synchronous vowel (audio /i/ or /u/). Compared to a baseline condition with nothing in the mouth, looking was selectively biased away from the audiovisual matching face when infants produced lip movements similar to the heard vowel, but returned to baseline when infants produced lip movements similar to the competing vowel. Experiment 2 confirmed that these sensorimotor effects interacted with the heard vowel, as looking patterns differed when infants produced identical lip movements while hearing an unrelated vowel (audio /a/). These findings suggest that the development of speech perception and speech production may be mutually informative.

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