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Brain Sci. 2014, 4(4), 613-634; doi:10.3390/brainsci4040613

A Mechanistic Approach to Cross-Domain Perceptual Narrowing in the First Year of Life

1
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts, 413 Tobin Hall/135 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
2
Department of Communication Disorders, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 September 2014 / Revised: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 16 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition in Infants)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [427 KB, uploaded 16 December 2014]

Abstract

Language and face processing develop in similar ways during the first year of life. Early in the first year of life, infants demonstrate broad abilities for discriminating among faces and speech. These discrimination abilities then become tuned to frequently experienced groups of people or languages. This process of perceptual development occurs between approximately 6 and 12 months of age and is largely shaped by experience. However, the mechanisms underlying perceptual development during this time, and whether they are shared across domains, remain largely unknown. Here, we highlight research findings across domains and propose a top-down/bottom-up processing approach as a guide for future research. It is hypothesized that perceptual narrowing and tuning in development is the result of a shift from primarily bottom-up processing to a combination of bottom-up and top-down influences. In addition, we propose word learning as an important top-down factor that shapes tuning in both the speech and face domains, leading to similar observed developmental trajectories across modalities. Importantly, we suggest that perceptual narrowing/tuning is the result of multiple interacting factors and not explained by the development of a single mechanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: face perception; speech perception; word learning; perceptual narrowing; top-down; bottom-up face perception; speech perception; word learning; perceptual narrowing; top-down; bottom-up
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hadley, H.; Rost, G.C.; Fava, E.; Scott, L.S. A Mechanistic Approach to Cross-Domain Perceptual Narrowing in the First Year of Life. Brain Sci. 2014, 4, 613-634.

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