Undergraduate Honours Theses
Previous research suggests that infants have high sensitivity to prosodic cues when listening to continuous speech. Specifically, rhythmic patterns play a significant role for infants’ language development. Kuiack (2015) conducted a head-turn preference study where infants were shown to rely on the fine durational cues to recognize novel words from familiarized words. However, Kuiack failed to control for beat regularity between words. The present study seeks to explore whether the success in detection of the contrasting vowel durations within the words in the Kuiack (2015) study was due to the regularity in timing. The current study inserted irregular pauses between the word stimuli used in the original Kuiack (2015) study. The results of the present study show that infants do not show discrimination in absence of rhythmic regularity. These findings suggest that infants require regularity in the beat pattern to recognize fine durational differences in speech.