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Cambridge Babylab


Another BabyRhythm preprint! Go check it out!

They played simple sounds to their sample of infants when they were seven and eleven months of age and examined whether they showed a mismatch response to oddballs with a different amplitude rise time.


Amplitude rise times play a crucial role in the perception of rhythm in speech, and reduced perceptual sensitivity to differences in rise time is related to developmental language difficulties. Amplitude rise times also play a mechanistic role in neural entrainment to the speech amplitude envelope. Using an ERP paradigm, here we examined for the first time whether infants at the ages of seven and eleven months exhibit an auditory mismatch response to changes in the rise times of simple repeating auditory stimuli. We found that infants exhibited a mismatch response to the oddball rise time that was more positive at seven than eleven months of age. At eleven months, there was a left-lateralised shift to a mismatch negativity. Infants’ ability to detect changes in rise time was generally robust, with a range of oddball stimuli with different rise times each eliciting a mismatch response from 85% of infants. A lateralised effect indicated that the size of the mismatch response varied as the change in rise time became easier to detect. The mismatch response to the different rise time oddballs also stabilised as infants got older. The results indicate that neural processing of changes in rise time develops early in life, supporting the possibility that early speech processing is facilitated by neural sensitivity to these acoustic cues to rhythm.