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David J. Lewkowicz

David J. Lewkowicz
Haskins Laboratories & Yale Child Study Center

Ph.D.

About

140
Publications
33,585
Reads
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5,666
Citations
Introduction
I study perceptual and cognitive development in human infants and preschool children with 2 primary foci (1) the development of multisensory perception and attention as it relates to object, speech, language, and social perception, and (2) the development of pattern/sequence learning. In addition, I have an abiding interest in theoretical issues related to the processes underlying development.
Additional affiliations
July 2019 - present
Yale University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
June 2019 - present
Haskins Laboratories
Position
  • Senior Researcher
August 2014 - May 2019
Northeastern University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Education
September 1974 - June 1979

Publications

Publications (140)
Article
Full-text available
Multisensory processes are fundamental in scaffolding perception, cognition, learning, and behavior. How and when stimuli from different sensory modalities are integrated rather than treated as separate entities is poorly understood. We review how the relative reliance on stimulus characteristics versus learned associations dynamically shapes multi...
Article
Infants growing up in bilingual environments succeed at learning two languages. What adaptive processes enable them to master the more complex nature of bilingual input? One possibility is that bilingual infants take greater advantage of the redundancy of the audiovisual speech that they usually experience during social interactions. Thus, we inves...
Article
Full-text available
The mechanisms underlying the acquisition of speech-production ability in human infancy are not well understood. We tracked 4-12-mo-old English-learning infants' and adults' eye gaze while they watched and listened to a female reciting a monologue either in their native (English) or nonnative (Spanish) language. We found that infants shifted their...
Article
According to conventional wisdom, multisensory development is a progressive process that results in the growth and proliferation of perceptual skills. We review new findings indicating that a regressive process - perceptual narrowing - also contributes in critical ways to perceptual development. These new data reveal that young infants are able to...
Article
Background: Due to familial liability, siblings of children with ASD exhibit elevated risk for language delays. The processes contributing to language delays in this population remain unclear. Methods: Considering well-established links between attention to dynamic audiovisual cues inherent in a speaker's face and speech processing, we investiga...
Article
Looking to the mouth of a talker early in life predicts expressive communication. We hypothesized that looking at a talker's mouth may signal that infants are ready for increased supported joint engagement and that it subsequently facilitates prelinguistic vocal development and translates to broader gains in expressive communication. We tested this...
Article
Social interactions often involve a cluttered multisensory scene consisting of multiple talking faces. We investigated whether audiovisual temporal synchrony can facilitate perceptual segregation of talking faces. Participants either saw four identical or four different talking faces producing temporally jittered versions of the same visible speech...
Article
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display differences in multisensory function as quantified by several different measures. This study estimated the stability of variables derived from commonly used measures of multisensory function in school-aged children with ASD. Participants completed: a simultaneity judgment task for audiovisual spe...
Article
Adults attend to a talker’s mouth whenever confronted with challenging speech processing situations. We investigated whether L2 speakers also attend more to the mouth and whether their proficiency level modulates such attention. First, in Experiment 1, we presented native speakers of English and Spanish with videos of a talker speaking in their nat...
Article
Little is known about the effects of olfaction on visual processing during infancy. We investigated whether and how an infant's own mother's body odor or another mother's body odor affects 4-month-old infants’ looking at their mother's face when it is paired with a stranger's face. In Experiment 1, infants were exposed to their mother's body odor o...
Chapter
We consider two aspects of the development of multisensory processing. First, we review empirical findings on the development of audiovisual perception in infancy, the effects of early experience on this process, and the way in which changes in selective attention affect infant response to audiovisual inputs. We show that audiovisual perceptual abi...
Article
We investigated whether attention to a talker's eyes in 12 month-old infants is related to their communication and social abilities. We measured infant attention to a talker's eyes and mouth with a Tobii eye-tracker and examined the correlation between attention to the talker's eyes and scores on the Adaptive Behavior Questionnaire from the Bayley...
Article
Classic views of multisensory processing suggest that cortical sensory regions are specialized. More recent views argue that cortical sensory regions are inherently multisensory. To date, there are no published neuroimaging data that directly test these claims in infancy. Here we used fNIRS to show that temporal and occipital cortex are functionall...
Article
Recursive, hierarchically organized serial patterns provide the underlying structure in many cognitive and motor domains including speech, language, music, social interaction, and motor action. We investigated whether learning of hierarchical patterns emerges in infancy by habituating 204 infants to different hierarchical serial patterns and then t...
Conference Paper
Infants are born into a multisensory world with an immature, rapidly growing, and highly plastic nervous system. The neural plasticity makes them open to experience which, in fact, has major effects on how they end up processing multisensory inputs and how they acquire the ability to have unitary and meaningful multisensory experiences. One of the...
Conference Paper
The acquisition of speech and language in infancy is a remarkable achievement. Traditionally, this achievement has been viewed by most as the product of a relatively passive process that consists of infant acquisition of specific perceptual skills which then help them process auditory speech information. In this talk, I will suggest a novel theoret...
Conference Paper
Developing organisms must integrate the constant plethora of multisensory stimulation to have coherent and meaningful perceptual experiences and to acquire adaptive cognitive and social skills. My laboratory has been investigating the emergence of multisensory processing in human infants and the effects of early experience on the development of nat...
Article
Full-text available
Early multisensory perceptual experiences shape the abilities of infants to perform socially-relevant visual categorization, such as the extraction of gender, age, and emotion from faces. Here, we investigated whether multisensory perception of gender is influenced by infant-directed (IDS) or adult-directed (ADS) speech. Six-, 9-, and 12-month-old...
Data
Data. Proportion of total looking time (PTLT) that each infant directed at the matching and non-matching faces over the four test trials. (CSV)
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have found that infants shift their attention from the eyes to the mouth of a talker when they enter the canonical babbling phase after 6 months of age. Here, we investigated whether this increased attentional focus on the mouth is mediated by audio-visual synchrony and linguistic experience. To do so, we tracked eye gaze in 4-, 6-...
Conference Paper
Link to talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spj2mu0cPPU&t=789s
Article
The use and understanding of ordinal terms (e.g., “first” and “second”) is a developmental milestone that has been relatively unexplored in the preschool age range. In the present study, 4- and 5-year-olds watched as a reward was placed in one of three train cars labeled by the experimenter with an ordinal (e.g., first car), color (e.g., brown car)...
Article
One of the most salient social categories conveyed by human faces and voices is gender. We investigated the developmental emergence of the ability to perceive the coherence of auditory and visual attributes of gender in 6- and 9-month-old infants. Infants viewed two side-by-side video clips of a man and a woman singing a nursery rhyme and heard a s...
Conference Paper
The talk will focus on two aspects of the developmental emergence of multisensory perceptual skills in human infants. First, the talk will focus on findings indicating that sensitivity at birth to basic intersensory relations (e.g., intensity, synchrony) bootstraps the subsequent emergence of skills that enable infants to start detecting the multis...
Article
Learning about objects often requires making arbitrary associations among multisensory properties, such as the taste and appearance of a food or the face and voice of a person. However, the multisensory properties of individual objects usually are statistically constrained, such that some properties are more likely to co-occur than others, on the b...
Article
Perceptual narrowing reflects the effects of early experience and contributes in key ways to perceptual and cognitive development. Previous studies have found that unisensory perceptual sensitivity in young infants is broadly tuned such that they can discriminate native as well as non-native sensory inputs but that it is more narrowly tuned in olde...
Data
Our daily perceptual experiences are, almost without exception, multisensory. We perceive the objects, events and people around us through a range of sensory modalities which convey overlapping and complementary streams of information about our environment and ourselves. A person's face, the sound of their voice, the way they touch us, and even the...
Article
This study investigated whether an odor can affect infants' attention to visually presented objects and whether it can selectively direct visual gaze at visual targets as a function of their meaning. Four-month-old infants (n = 48) were exposed to their mother's body odors while their visual exploration was recorded with an eye-movement tracking sy...
Article
Binding is key in multisensory perception. This study investigated the audio-visual (A-V) temporal binding window in 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old children (total N = 120). Children watched a person uttering a syllable whose auditory and visual components were either temporally synchronized or desynchronized by 366, 500, or 666 ms. They were asked whether...
Article
Previous research has shown that infants viewing speaking faces shift their visual fixation from the speaker’s eyes to the speaker’s mouth between 4-8 mo. It is theorized that this shift occurs in order to facilitate language learning, based on audiovisual redundancy in the speech signal. In the current study, we asked whether a similar behavioral...
Article
Everyday experience plays a central role in the development of perceptual and cognitive abilities. Our latest studies have been exploring the non-obvious and obvious effects of perceptual experience on the development of audiovisual speech and language perception in human infants. Using eye tracking technology, we have discovered that when infants...
Conference Paper
This is a talk entitled "From Dilettante to Expert: How Babies Acquire Knowledge". Here, I review the latest studies on perceptual narrowing in the unisensory and multisensory domains in human infants and contextualize the results from these studies in a broad developmental systems perspective.
Article
Perception of the ordinal position of a sequence element is critical to many cognitive and motor functions. Here, the prediction that this ability is based on a domain-general perceptual mechanism and, thus, that it emerges prior to the emergence of language was tested. Infants were habituated with sequences of moving/sounding objects and then test...
Article
Audiovisual speech consists of overlapping and invariant patterns of dynamic acoustic and optic articulatory information. Research has shown that infants can perceive a variety of basic auditory-visual (A-V) relations but no studies have investigated whether and when infants begin to perceive higher order A-V relations inherent in speech. Here, we...
Chapter
Full-text available
The other chapters in this volume discuss the structural and functional characteristics of multisensory processing and integration mechanisms in adults. Here, I address the developmental question by asking (1) when do multisensory response mechanisms begin to emerge in development, and (2) what specific processes underlie their emergence? To answer...
Article
ABSTRACT Speech perception involves the integration of auditory and visual articulatory information, and thus requires the perception of temporal synchrony between this information. There is evidence that children with specific language impairment (SLI) have difficulty with auditory speech perception but it is not known if this is also true for the...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter considers the contribution of multisensory processes to the development of speech perception. Evidence for matching and integration of audiovisual speech information within the first few months of life suggests an early preparedness for extracting multisensory relations in spoken language. Nonetheless, it is currently not known what re...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter reviews what is currently known about the development of audiovisual perception in infancy and shows that the ability to perceive multisensory coherence takes time to emerge. In addition, recent findings are reviewed that show for the first time that experience contributes in an unexpected, but critical, way to the emergence of multise...
Article
When adults view very realistic humanoid robots or computer avatars they often exhibit an aversion to them. This phenomenon, known as the "uncanny valley," is assumed to be evolutionary in origin, perhaps tapping into modules for disgust or attractiveness that detect violations of our normal expectations regarding social signals. Here, we test an a...
Article
Human infancy is a time of rapid neural and behavioral development and multisensory perceptual skills emerge during this time. Both animal and human early deprivation studies have shown that experience contributes critically to the development of multisensory perception. Unfortunately, Bodison because the human deprivation studies have only studied...
Article
We investigated the effects of linguistic experience and language familiarity on the perception of audiovisual (A-V) synchrony in fluent speech. In Experiment 1, we tested a group of monolingual Spanish-and Catalan-learning 8-month-old infants to a video clip of a person speaking Spanish. Following habituation to the audiovisually synchronous video...
Article
Learning about objects often involves associating multisensory properties such as the taste and smell of a food or the face and voice of a person. Here, we report a novel phenomenon in associative learning in which pairs of multisensory attributes that are consistent with deriving from a single object are learned better than pairs that are not. In...
Article
Since the time of the Greeks, philosophers and scientists have wondered about the origins of structure and function. Plato proposed that the origins of structure and function lie in the organism's nature whereas Aristotle proposed that they lie in its nurture. This nature/nurture dichotomy and the emphasis on the origins question has had a powerful...
Chapter
Full-text available
Development is a progressive process that results in the growth and proliferation of motor, perceptual and cognitive skills. A growing body of evidence shows, however, that seemingly paradoxical regressive processes also contribute to perceptual development and to the emergence of specialization. This evidence shows that unisensory perceptual sensi...
Article
The spatial location of objects and events is often specified by concurrent auditory and visual inputs. Adults of many species, including humans, take advantage of such multimodal redundancy in spatial localization. Previous studies have shown that adults respond more quickly and reliably to multimodal compared to unimodal stimuli localization cues...
Article
Faces and voices of familiar people are mutually informative, i.e. hearing a familiar person's face allows the observer to infer the speaker's face and vice-versa. Development of this cross-modal knowledge may be due to simple associative pairing or may represent a specialized process in which faces and voices are bound into an ‘identity’. Here, we...
Article
There is now a good deal of data from neurophysiological studies in animals and behavioral studies in human infants regarding the development of multisensory processing capabilities. Although the conclusions drawn from these different datasets sometimes appear to conflict, many of the differences are due to the use of different terms to mean the sa...
Article
Previous studies have shown that infants, including newborns, can match previously unseen and unheard human faces and vocalizations. More recently, it has been reported that infants as young as 4 months of age also can match the faces and vocalizations of other species raising the possibility that such broad multisensory perceptual tuning is presen...
Article
Three experiments investigated perception of audio-visual (A-V) speech synchrony in 4- to 10-month-old infants. Experiments 1 and 2 used a convergent-operations approach by habituating infants to an audiovisually synchronous syllable (Experiment 1) and then testing for detection of increasing degrees of A-V asynchrony (366, 500, and 666 ms) or by h...
Article
The ability to perceive sequences is fundamental to cognition. Previous studies have shown that infants can learn visual sequences as early as 2 months of age and it has been suggested that this ability is mediated by sensitivity to conditional probability information. Typically, conditional probability information has covaried with frequency infor...
Article
This study investigated how 4-month-old infants represent sequences: Do they track the statistical relations among specific sequence elements (e.g., AB, BC) or do they encode abstract ordinal positions (i.e., B is second)? Infants were habituated to sequences of 4 moving and sounding elements-3 of the elements varied in their ordinal position while...
Article
The conventional view is that perceptual/cognitive development is an incremental process of acquisition. Several striking findings have revealed, however, that the sensitivity to non-native languages, faces, vocalizations, and music that is present early in life declines as infants acquire experience with native perceptual inputs. In the language d...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the evolutionary origins of a phenotype requires understanding the relationship between ontogenetic and phylogenetic processes. Human infants have been shown to undergo a process of perceptual narrowing during their first year of life, whereby their intersensory ability to match the faces and voices of another species declines as they...
Data
Coo-Grunt pair of the first macaque presenter. The matching video is on the left side. (1.88 MB MOV)
Data
Coo-Grunt pair of the second macaque presenter. The matching video is on the right side. (1.55 MB MOV)
Article
This study investigated perception of audiovisual sequences in 3- and 4-month-old infants. Infants were habituated to sequences consisting of moving/sounding or looming/sounding objects and then tested for their ability to detect changes in the order of the objects, sounds, or both. Results showed that 3-month-olds perceived the order of 3-element...
Article
The current study investigated the mechanisms underlying the developmental decline in cross-species intersensory matching first reported by Lewkowicz and Ghazanfar [Lewkowicz, D.J., & Ghazanfar, A.A., (2006). The decline of cross-species intersensory perception in human infants. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 103(17), 6771-6774] and whether the de...
Article
The two primary channels of social communication in primate species are the face and the voice and there is no doubt that each alone can provide perceptually, cognitively and socially meaningful information. When combined, however, the communicative value of the information conveyed through each of these two channels can be greatly enhanced as many...
Article
Previous studies have shown that adults respond faster and more reliably to bimodal compared to unimodal localization cues. The current study investigated for the first time the development of audiovisual (A-V) integration in spatial localization behavior in infants between 1 and 10 months of age. We observed infants' head and eye movements in resp...
Article
Between 6 and 10 months of age, infants become better at discriminating among native voices and human faces and worse at discriminating among nonnative voices and other species’ faces. We tested whether these unisensory perceptual narrowing effects reflect a general ontogenetic feature of perceptual systems by testing across sensory modalities. We...
Article
This study investigated the perception of complex audiovisual rhythmic patterns in 4-, 6-, 8-, and 10-month-old human infants. In Experiment 1, we first habituated infants to an event in which an object could be seen and heard bouncing in a rhythmic fashion. We then tested them to determine if they would detect a relative temporal pattern change pr...
Article
Perception, production, and understanding of sequences is fundamental to human behavior and depends, in large part, on the ability to detect serial order. Despite the importance of this issue across many domains of human functioning, the development of serial order skills has been neglected in developmental studies. The current article reviews evid...
Article
Serial order is fundamental to perception, cognition and behavioral action. Three experiments investigated infants' perception, learning and discrimination of serial order. Four- and 8-month-old infants were habituated to three sequentially moving objects making visible and audible impacts and then were tested on separate test trials for their abil...
Article
The articles in this collection consider one very interesting puzzle of development: U-shaped developmental functions. At some point during development, an organ- ism might exhibit what seems like a regression from its expected developmental trajectory and, according to continuity models of development, this is aberrant. In this special issue, appa...
Article
This study examined 4- to 10-month-old infants' perception of audio-visual (A-V) temporal synchrony cues in the presence or absence of rhythmic pattern cues. Experiment 1 established that infants of all ages could successfully discriminate between two different audiovisual rhythmic events. Experiment 2 showed that only 10-month-old infants detected...
Article
Adults who watch an ambiguous visual event consisting of two identical objects moving toward, through, and away from each other and hear a brief sound when the objects overlap report seeing visual bouncing. We conducted three experiments in which we used the habituation/test method to determine whether these illusory effects might emerge early in d...
Article
It is now well established that a variety of intersensory perceptual skills emerge in early human development. Empirical evidence from studies in the author's as well as other laboratories charting the developmental emergence of these abilities is reviewed. The evidence is considered in terms of the currently dominant theoretical view of intersenso...
Article
The concept of ecological validity has played an important role in research on perceptual development. The limitations of this concept are discussed and illustrated with examples from research on the development of intersensory perception. By itself the concept of ecological validity fails to provide objective criteria for experimental design, but...
Article
Stoffregen & Bardy reject the likelihood that infants are sensitive to the global array, implying that intersensory integration is not possible in early development. We argue that infants are sensitive to unimodal arrays and are able to integrate them through the active participation of their nervous system and that the observed developmental chang...
Article
The ability of 3-month-old infants to learn arbitrary auditory–visual associations between voices and faces was investigated by familiarizing each infant to two alternating stimuli presented on a VCR monitor. Each stimulus was a voice–face combination, where the voices and faces were male and/or female. On the post-familiarization test trials each...
Article
Comments on the article by L. J. Gogate et al (see record 2001-00499-001) t