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Speech Processing

From birth, infants demonstrate a general preference for speech over a range of other nonspeech auditory stimuli, suggesting a bias for human speech. This potential bias may draw infants into the auditory world and facilitate the processing of speech over the course of development. Indeed, early experience with language prior to birth may help form this bias and may be responsible for early speech preferences, such as a mother's voice, native language rhythm, and familiar stories. Experience with the ambient language continues to shape infants' processing of the speech signal over the first year of life. During this time, infants are learning about sounds, sound patterns, and prosodic information (rhythm, stress, and intonation) specific to their language, and they are simultaneously using this information ...

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