Stork: Neural Systems For Infant Sensitivity to Phonological Rhythmic-Temporal Patterning

ADAM STONE (2016-08-01 to 2017-07-31) Neural Systems For Infant Sensitivity to Phonological Rhythmic-Temporal Patterning. Amount: $43576



Human infants are understood to begin life with a complex of brain mechanisms and sensitivities to environmental and social factors that, together, appear to contribute to our species' unique ability to learn language. However, we are only beginning to understand the nature and development of these brain mechanisms and sensitivities, especially as they contribute to the central question posed here: How does the infant discover the finite set of phonetic units in their native language from the infinite combinations of sensory stimuli around them? One hypothesis proposes that infants are born with sensitivities to specific rhythmic-temporal patterning at the nucleus of human language phonology in both spoken and signed language, which permits segmentation and categorization of the continuously varying linguistic stream. We suggest that the superior temporal gyrus (STG) is a key neural site that governs this capacity and is the brain mechanism that enables infants' sensitivity to the rhythmic-temporal patterning from which it will build all the words and sentences of its native languages. While it has been suggested that babies are born with sensitivity to rhythmic-temporal patterns in maximal contrasts at around 1 to 1.5 Hz, the precise frequencies to which babies are biologically attracted to remain unknown. In addition, we do not know if this sensitivity is linked to only the pure timing of the signal (the temporal-general property), or also requires the alternation of maximally contrastive units present in both signed and speech phonology (the phonology-specific property). We use integrated functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) and Tobii eye tracking to examine deaf and hearing infants' response to sign phonetic-syllabic units and moving point-light scenes presented at different frequencies (.5, 1.5, 3 Hz) at a key developmental age, 5-6 months to adjudicate whether infants are sensitive to the temporal-general property or also to the phonology-specific property within rhythmic-temporal patterning. [[The proposed study addresses if humans are born with neural tissue dedicated to acquisition of phonology, and clarifies on a modality-free level how this tissue may interact with auditory or visual functions.]] Discovering the properties of rhythmic-temporal patterning to which babies are biologically attracted will advance our knowledge about how babies discover the core parts of their languages. The use of signed language stimuli allows us to determine whether infants are sensitive to general temporal patterns or to specific linguistic phonetic contrasts, [[advancing our knowledge of]] language acquisition universals. We will gain insight into how experience-dependent brain changes provide infants with the neural circuitry necessary for learning [[the phonology of their]] language(s), allowing us to support clinicians in identifying infants at risk for phonology-based language and reading disorders. Finally, this first-ever developmental neurobiological investigation of signed language perception will permit new understanding of the importance of early visual language experience for learning and reading outcomes in deaf children, and indeed, all children.

人类婴儿被认为是以一种复杂的大脑机制和对环境和社会因素的敏感性开始生活,这些因素共同促成了我们物种学习语言的独特能力。然而,我们才刚刚开始了解这些大脑机制和敏感性的本质和发展,特别是因为它们有助于提出这里提出的核心问题:婴儿如何从无限组合中发现他们母语中的有限语音单位。他们周围的感官刺激?一种假设认为,婴儿出生时对口语和签名语言中人类语言音韵核的特定节奏 - 时间模式敏感,这允许对连续变化的语言流进行分段和分类。我们认为颞上回(STG)是控制这种能力的关键神经网站,是大脑机制,使婴儿对节奏 - 时间模式的敏感性,从而构建其母语的所有单词和句子。虽然有人认为婴儿出生时对大约1到1.5赫兹的最大对比度的节律 - 时间模式敏感,但婴儿在生物学上被吸引的确切频率仍然未知。此外,我们不知道这种灵敏度是仅与信号的纯定时(时间一般性质)相关联,还是需要交替出现在有符号和语音语音学中存在的最大对比单位(特定于音韵学的属性) )。我们使用集成功能近红外光谱(fNIRS)和Tobii眼动追踪来检查聋人和听力婴儿对符号语音单元的响应以及在一个键上以不同频率(.5,1.5,3 Hz)呈现的移动点光场景发育年龄,5-6个月判断婴儿是否对时间 - 一般性质敏感,还是对节奏 - 时间模式中的音韵特性敏感。 [[拟议的研究涉及人类是否天生具有专门用于获取音韵的神经组织,并阐明了这种组织如何与听觉或视觉功能相互作用的无模态水平。]]发现节奏 - 时间模式的属性婴儿在生物学上的吸引力将促进我们对婴儿如何发现其语言核心部分的了解。使用带符号的语言刺激使我们能够确定婴儿是否对一般时间模式或特定的语言语音对比敏感,[[推进我们的知识]]语言习得普遍性。我们将深入了解依赖经验的大脑变化如何为婴儿提供学习[[他们的语音]]语言所必需的神经回路,使我们能够支持临床医生识别有基于音韵语言和阅读风险的婴儿障碍。最后,这项有关签名语言感知的首次发展性神经生物学研究将使人们能够更好地理解早期视觉语言经验对于聋儿,甚至所有儿童的学习和阅读结果的重要性。

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