Infant discrimination of two- and five-formant voiced stop consonants differing in place of articulation

Amanda C. Walley, David B. Pisoni, Richard N. Aslin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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According to recent theoretical accounts of place of articulation perception, global, invariant properties of the stop CV syllable onset spectrum serve as primary, innate cues to place of articulation, whereas contextually variable formant transitions constitute secondary, learned cues. By this view, one might expect that young infants would find the discrimination of place of articulation contrasts signaled by formant transition differences more difficult than those cued by gross spectral differences. Using an operant head-turning paradigm, the authors found that 6-month-old infants were able to discriminate two-formant stimuli contrasting in place of articulation as well as they did five-formant plus burst stimuli. Apparently, neither the global properties of the onset spectrum nor simply the additional acoustic information contained in the five-formant plus burst stimuli afford the infant any advantage in the discrimination task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-589
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1984


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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