• minimum 350-word up to a maximum 500-word answer
  • use evidence to support your opinion (MUST cite research as outlined in prompt)
  • proofread your answer and use complete, grammatical sentences

In chapter 3 you learned about the early “tuning” of speech perception in young infants (see pp.87-89) and the film, Early Learning, the Brain and Society by Patricia Kuhl, Dr. Kuhl introduced you to her mechanism underlying this critical period in language development. What mechanisms support infants’ ability to perceive the sounds of language during the first year of life? Some argue that that infants use domain-general abilities, like statistical learning, to perceive the sounds of language. Still others argue that children acquire rules or patterns from language input. Others claim that perceiving the sounds of language is guided by properties of language such as infant directed speech. More recently, some have proposed that the critical period seen in perception of sounds from all languages in the world can be explained by neural commitment, in which the neural underpinnings of speech perception is molded by early language input. Models of early phonological development focus on accounting for the phenomena that have been observed in studies of infant speech perception and on linking those phenomena to aspects of later language development.

In your opinion and based on evidence, what mechanism(s) do you think support infants’ ability to perceive the sounds of their native language in the first year of life? That is, what mechanism(s) do you think are involved with this “tuning” of speech perception? Some mechanisms to consider are: domain-general mechanisms like statistical learning, infant-directed speech and/or the role of language input, distributional learning, and Kuhl’s neural commitment theory. Please be sure to provide AT LEAST 2 citations/references for your responses. References for this response can come from ONLY journal articles, chapters in edited books, and books. DO NOT USE YOUR TEXTBOOK OR WEBSITES AS EVIDENCE FOR THIS RESPONSE.

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