• wednesday, 14 february 2024—12:15

    Stefanie Peykarjou - The Influence of Infant-Directed Speech on Visual Categorization, Object Processing and Memory

    Stefanie Peykarjou, Universität Heidelberg

    Join the seminar online: https://bit.ly/498AsYO

    Infants‘ attention to and learning of language is enhanced by infant-directed speech (IDS; Spinelli et al., 2017), characterized by a higher mean pitch, higher pitch variation, and linguistically simpler language (Saint-Georges et al., 2013). Whether IDS also facilitates visual and cognitive processing is largely unexplored. We present evidence addressing this gap across three studies.

    Study 1 investigates the effect of IDS on visual categorization of social and non-social stimuli in an
    EEG paradigm. In a frequency tagging categorization task that infants cannot solve without social
    cues (Leleu et al., 2020), concurrent IDS speech enabled categorization in four-month-old infants (N
    = 25, 10 f). Adult-directed speech (ADS) also sufficed to enable categorization, raising the possibility
    that any kind of human speech facilitates infant categorization. In Study 2, online eyetracking was
    employed to test whether short speech segments (“Guck mal!”) spoken in IDS facilitate object
    processing. Unfamiliar visual objects were accompanied by IDS or ADS, then presented again
    alongside a novel object. N = 28 four-to-six-month-old infants (14 f) showed a looking preference for
    the cued object following ADS, consistent with the idea that IDS facilitated object processing. The
    effect of IDS on short-term memory is addressed in Study 3. Infants at 12 and 21 months (N = 60,
    23f) participated in an online eyetracking task where novel objects were introduced in an infant- or
    adult-directed manner. Analyses of visual preferences at test will serve as indicator of object
    memory and are currently under way. We hypothesize that objects presented in IDS elicit shorter
    looking times, indicating enhanced memory.

    Together, this talk elucidates potential facilitative effects of speech on object categorization,
    encoding and memory.


    Leleu, A., Rekow, D., Poncet, F., Schaal, B., Durand, K., Rossion, B., & Baudouin, J.-Y. (2020). Maternal
    odor shapes rapid face categorization in the infant brain. Developmental Science, 23(2),
    e12877. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12877

    Saint-Georges, C., Chetouani, M., Cassel, R., Apicella, F., Mahdhaoui, A., Muratori, F., ... & Cohen, D.
    (2013). Motherese in interaction: at the cross-road of emotion and cognition?(A systematic
    review). PloS one, 8(10), e78103.

    Spinelli, M., Fasolo, M., & Mesman, J. (2017). Does prosody make the difference? A meta-analysis on
    relations between prosodic aspects of infant-directed speech and infant outcomes.
    Developmental Review, 44, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2016.12.001

    external seminar