(1984) The current status of the motherese hypothesis.

N2 - Data on typically developing children suggest a link between social interaction and language learning, a finding of interest both to theories of language and theories of autism. In this study, we examined social and linguistic processing of speech in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing chronologically matched (TDCA) and mental age matched (TDMA) children. The social measure was an auditory preference test that pitted 'motherese' speech samples against non-speech analogs of the same signals. The linguistic measure was phonetic discrimination assessed with mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential (ERP). As a group, children with ASD differed from controls by: (a) demonstrating a preference for the non-speech analog signals, and (b) failing to show a significant MMN in response to a syllable change. When ASD children were divided into subgroups based on auditory preference, and the ERP data reanalyzed, ASD children who preferred non-speech still failed to show an MMN, whereas ASD children who preferred motherese did not differ from the controls. The data support the hypothesis of an association between social and linguistic processing in children with ASD.

Among linguists this phenomenon is known asmothereseand reason for several different hypothesis ..

Data on typically developing children suggest a link between social interaction and language learning, a finding of interest both to theories of language and theories of autism. In this study, we examined social and linguistic processing of speech in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing chronologically matched (TDCA) and mental age matched (TDMA) children. The social measure was an auditory preference test that pitted 'motherese' speech samples against non-speech analogs of the same signals. The linguistic measure was phonetic discrimination assessed with mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential (ERP). As a group, children with ASD differed from controls by: (a) demonstrating a preference for the non-speech analog signals, and (b) failing to show a significant MMN in response to a syllable change. When ASD children were divided into subgroups based on auditory preference, and the ERP data reanalyzed, ASD children who preferred non-speech still failed to show an MMN, whereas ASD children who preferred motherese did not differ from the controls. The data support the hypothesis of an association between social and linguistic processing in children with ASD.


The current status of the motherese hypothesis

To test the hypothesis that the intonation of motherese speech ..

Three experiments investigated possible acoustic determinants of the infant lis-tening preference for motherese speech found by Fernald (1985). To test the hypothesis that the intonation of motherese speech was sufficient to elicit this preference, it was necessary to eliminate lexical content and to isolate the three maior acoustic correlates of intonation: (1) fundamental frequency (Fo), or pitch: (2) amplitude, correlated with loudness; and (3) duration, related to speech rhythm. Three sets of auditory reinforcers were computer-synthesized, derived from the FO (Experiment 1). amplitude (Experiment 2). and durotion (Experiment 3) characteristics of the infant- and adult-directed natural speech samples used by Fernald (1985). Thus, each of these experiments focused on particular prosodic variables in the absence of segmental variation. Twenty 4-month-old infants were tested in on operant ouditory preference procedure in each experiment. In-fonts showed a significant preference for the FO-patterns of motherese speech, but not for the amplitude or duration patterns of motherese. motherese intonation infant auditory preference fundamentol frequency language input auditory development The primary emphasis in research on the structure and functions of motherese has been on linguistic variables and language outcome measures. Much less at-tention has been given to the sound of mothers ’ speech, and to the possible role of the exaggerated intonation typical of motherese in communicating af-fect and regulating infant attention, particularly with prelinguistic infants. In an auditory preference study, Fernald (1985) found that 4-month-old infants chose to listen more often to infant-directed speech than to adult-directed speech, a listening preference which could be accounted for by a number of perceptual as well as linguistic variables. The present study extends these find-This report is based on a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for