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High-Amplitude Sucking Procedure

The high-amplitude sucking technique (HAS), also called non-nutritive sucking, is an experimental method appropriate for testing infants from birth to age 4 months. The HAS technique capitalizes on infants' sucking reflex: Infants hear a sound stimulus every time they produce a strong or high-amplitude suck. The number of high-amplitude sucks produced is used as an index of interest. Variants of the procedure can be used to test infants' discrimination of and preference for a variety of language stimuli. The use of HAS in the field of language acquisition was pioneered by Peter D. Eimas and his colleagues in their 1971 study of categorical discrimination, where they showed that 1– to 4-month-old infants are more sensitive to an acoustic difference that crosses an adult consonant boundary ...

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