This study used the auditory evaluation framework [Erber (1982). Auditory Training (Alexander Graham Bell Association, Washington, DC)] to characterize the influence of visual speech on audiovisual (AV) speech perception in adults and children at multiple levels of perceptual processing. Six- to eight-year-old children and adults completed auditory and AV speech perception tasks at three levels of perceptual processing (detection, discrimination, and recognition). The tasks differed in the level of perceptual processing required to complete them. Adults and children demonstrated visual speech influence at all levels of perceptual processing. Whereas children demonstrated the same visual speech influence at each level of perceptual processing, adults demonstrated greater visual speech influence on tasks requiring higher levels of perceptual processing. These results support previous research demonstrating multiple mechanisms of AV speech processing (general perceptual and speech-specific mechanisms) with independent maturational time courses. The results suggest that adults rely on both general perceptual mechanisms that apply to all levels of perceptual processing and speech-specific mechanisms that apply when making phonetic decisions and/or accessing the lexicon. Six- to eight-year-old children seem to rely only on general perceptual mechanisms across levels. As expected, developmental differences in AV benefit on this and other recognition tasks likely reflect immature speech-specific mechanisms and phonetic processing in children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics