Patricia K Kuhl

Patricia K Kuhl
University of Washington Seattle | UW · Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences

About

161
Publications
78,837
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21,878
Citations
Citations since 2017
7 Research Items
7861 Citations
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400

Publications

Publications (161)
Article
No PDF available ABSTRACT Recent research in dyslexia postulates that imprecise representations of phonemes are linked to basic auditory deficits in temporal sampling. Evidence comes from adult readers with dyslexia demonstrating deficits in auditory sampling at several rates of the speech signal including the phoneme rate (>40 Hz). It remains unkn...
Article
No PDF available ABSTRACT Children show remarkable progress in word learning in the second year of life. This language growth coincides with the vocabulary spurt and the development of domain-general cognition, e.g., attention that facilitates perceptual processing. Evidence suggests that language growth depends on increasing processing efficiency...
Article
Cross-language speech perception experiments indicate that for many vowel contrasts, discrimination is easier when the same pair of vowels is presented in one direction compared to the reverse direction. According to one account, these directional asymmetries reflect a universal bias favoring “focal” vowels (i.e., vowels with prominent spectral pea...
Article
The first years of life represent a unique window of opportunity for foreign language learning. However, key questions are: How much and what kind of foreign language exposure is needed to ignite learning? We conducted a foreign language (English) intervention in four public Infant Education Centers in Madrid, Spain. Intervention children (N = 126,...
Article
Full-text available
It has been shown that monolingual caregivers exaggerate acoustic speech cues in infant-directed speech (IDS), but less is known about the characteristics of IDS in late second-language (L2) bilingual caregivers. Furthermore, there is inconsistency in the literature regarding voice onset time (VOT) of stop consonants in IDS. The present study explo...
Chapter
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Infants rapidly learn language in their home environments. Between 6 and 12 months of age, infants’ ability to process the building blocks of speech (i.e., phonetic information) develops quickly, and this ability predicts later language development. Typically, developing infants in a monolingual language environment rapidly tune in to the phonetic...
Article
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Diffusion tensor imaging was used to compare white matter structure between American monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual adults living in the United States. In the bilingual group, relationships between white matter structure and naturalistic immersive experience in listening to and speaking English were additionally explored. White matter st...
Article
The present investigation explored the relation between the amount of language input and neural responses in English monolingual (N = 18) and Spanish-English bilingual (N = 19) infants. We examined the mismatch negativity (MMN); both the positive mismatch response (pMMR) and the negative mismatch response (nMMR), and identify a relationship between...
Article
This study tested the impact of child-directed language input on language development in Spanish–English bilingual infants (N = 25, 11- and 14-month-olds from the Seattle metropolitan area), across languages and independently for each language, controlling for socioeconomic status. Language input was characterized by social interaction variables, d...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals with music training in early childhood show enhanced processing of musical sounds, an effect that generalizes to speech processing. Yet, the conclusions drawn from previous studies are limited due to the possible confounds of predisposition and other factors affecting musicians and non-musicians. We employed a randomized design to test...
Article
Language experience shapes infants' abilities to process speech sounds, with universal phonetic discrimination abilities narrowing in the second half of the first year. Brain measures reveal a corresponding change in neural discrimination as the infant brain becomes selectively sensitive to its native language(s). Whether and how bilingual experien...
Poster
Full-text available
The learning process for speech sounds begins well before the age of 1, and it is critically associated with language acquisition in the subsequent developmental stages1. Infants’ exposure to their language environment can significantly influence this process2, 3. However, little is known about the effect of music exposure during this period on spe...
Article
Infants learn phonetic information from a second language with live-person presentations, but not television or audio-only recordings. To understand the role of social interaction in learning a second language, we examined infants' joint attention with live, Spanish-speaking tutors and used a neural measure of phonetic learning. Infants' eye-gaze b...
Article
Full-text available
Previously published results from neonatal brain evoked response potential (ERP) experiments revealed different brain responses to the single word "baby" depending on whether it was recorded by the mother or an unfamiliar female. These results are consistent with behavioral preference studies in which infants altered pacifier sucking to contingentl...
Article
Full-text available
The development of speech perception shows a dramatic transition between infancy and adulthood. Between 6 and 12 months, infants' initial ability to discriminate all phonetic units across the world's languages narrows-native discrimination increases while non-native discrimination shows a steep decline. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to exami...
Article
Full-text available
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects social behavior and language acquisition. ASD exhibits great variability in outcomes, with some individuals remaining nonverbal and others exhibiting average or above average function. Cognitive ability contributes to heterogeneity in autism and serves as a modest predictor o...
Article
To test the hypothesis that exposure to ambient language in the womb alters phonetic perception shortly after birth. This two-country study aimed to see whether neonates demonstrated prenatal learning by how they responded to vowels in a category from their native language and another non-native language, regardless of how much postnatal experience...
Article
Drawing on a large corpus of video-recorded classroom data, the goal of this study was to understand the processes and mechanisms associated with learning in individuals who have had little education in their home countries. In order to accomplish this goal, we measured the socio-interactive behaviors and the expression of personality behaviors in...
Article
Full-text available
The question of whether sensitivity peaks at vowel boundaries (i.e., phoneme boundary effects) and sensitivity minima near excellent category exemplars (i.e., perceptual magnet effects) stem from the same stage of perceptual processing was examined in two experiments. In Experiment 1, participants gave phoneme identification and goodness ratings fo...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the relation between language exposure and neural commitment to the phonetic units of language in 11-14 month-old English monolingual (N=22) and English-Spanish bilingual infants (N=22). Our previous work suggested that bilingual infants develop phonetic neural commitment at a different pace than their monolingual peers (Garcia-Sier...
Article
Full-text available
We report brain electrophysiological responses from 10- to 13-month-old Mexican infants while listening to native and foreign CV-syllable contrasts differing in Voice Onset Time (VOT). All infants showed normal auditory event-related potential (ERP) components. Our analyses showed ERP evidence that Mexican infants are capable of discriminating thei...
Article
a b s t r a c t Research on the development of speech processing in bilingual children has typically implemented a cross-sectional design and relied on behavioral measures. The present study is the first to explore brain measures within a longitudinal study of this population. We report results from the first phase of data analysis in a longitudina...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral studies show that bilinguals are slower and less accurate when performing mental calculation in their nondominant (second; L2) language than in their dominant (first; L1) language. However, little is known about the neural correlates associated with the performance differences observed between bilinguals' 2 languages during arithmetic pr...
Article
The last decade has produced an explosion in neuroscience research examining young children's early processing of language that has implications for education. Noninvasive, safe functional brain measurements have now been proven feasible for use with children starting at birth. In the arena of language, the neural signatures of learning can be docu...
Article
Full-text available
You pick up your smartphone and hear someone speak. Without visual contact, you immediately try to discern whether the caller is male or female, young or old, happy or sad, mom or a stranger. You want to know who is speaking and what they are saying. How do you derive two distinct impressions from that single auditory event? Voice recognition (the...
Conference Paper
Background: Language/communication deficits and social impairment are key components of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Event related brain potentials (ERPs) have been shown to be a sensitive measure of differences in speech processing abilities of 3 year olds with typical development (TD) and ASD (Kuhl, et al., 2005). ERP measures of word processi...
Article
Infants change from universal language‐general listeners to language‐specific listeners in the first year of life. Studies show that statistical learning affects this change. As learning ensues, the power of statistical information subsides and a reliance on learned categories emerges. We posited that phonetic processing is anchored by two strategi...
Article
Language experience 'narrows' speech perception by the end of infants' first year, reducing discrimination of non-native phoneme contrasts while improving native-contrast discrimination. Previous research showed that declines in non-native discrimination were reversed by second-language experience provided at 9-10 months, but it is not known whethe...
Article
To better understand how infants process complex auditory input, this study investigated whether 11-month-old infants perceive the pitch (melodic) or the phonetic (lyric) components within songs as more salient, and whether melody facilitates phonetic recognition. Using a preferential looking paradigm, uni-dimensional and multi-dimensional songs we...
Article
The goal of this investigation was to compare speech discrimination in 11-14-month-old infants who are being raised in either monolingual English (N=22) or bilingual Spanish-English (N= 22) homes. The participants' neural activity associated with the ability to discriminate English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese consonants was assessed using event...
Article
This investigation explores how everyday social communication between parents and infants relates to speech development. This goal is accomplished by using the digital recorder LENA that monolingual (N=11) and Spanish-English bilingual (N=10) 14-month-old infants wore for 4 days. Infants' sample files (i.e., 160, 30-s intervals per infant) were cod...
Article
The last decade has produced an explosion in neuroscience research examining young children's early processing of language. Noninvasive, safe functional brain measurements have now been proven feasible for use with children starting at birth. The phonetic level of language is especially accessible to experimental studies that document the innate st...
Conference Paper
Background: Studies of infants who have older siblings with autism indicate that 30-50% exhibit abnormal sensory behaviors, language and/or social delays as early as 12-months of age (Zwaigenbaum et al., 2005; Landa & Garrett-Mayer, 2006; Mitchell et al., 2006). Although children with autism are a densely heterogeneous population, communication and...
Conference Paper
Background: Language/communication deficits and social impairment are key components of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Event related brain potentials (ERPs) have been shown to be sensitive measures of differences in speech processing abilities of 3 year olds with typical development (TD) and ASD (Kuhl, et al., 2005). ERP measures of word proc...
Article
A key goal of cognitive neuroscience is to find simple and direct connections between brain and behaviour. However, fMRI analysis typically involves choices between many possible options, with each choice potentially biasing any brain-behaviour correlations that emerge. Standard methods of fMRI analysis assess each voxel individually, but then face...
Article
Bilingual speakers must have effective neural mechanisms to control and manage their two languages, but it is unknown whether bilingual language control includes different control components. Using mixed blocked and event-related designs, the present study explored the sustained and transient neural control of two languages during language processi...
Article
Dissecting Dyslexia and Learning Difficulties in learning to read, despite reasonable effort and instruction, form the basis of dyslexia. Gabrieli (p. 280 ; see the cover) now reviews the latest research into the causes of dyslexia. Neuroimaging studies may give early notice of impending dyslexia, and it is hoped that early interventions may lessen...
Article
The adult brain exhibits anatomical and functional specialization specific to speech, but we have little information regarding the infant brain. Recent adult neuroimaging studies show that speech processing is left-lateralized and that two regions of the brain, the superior temporal (ST, auditory area) and inferior parietal (IF, motor area), contri...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral research has shown that by 6 months of age, infants show an effect of experience with native language vowels. In a previous study of category organization, infants in Sweden and the United States treated a vowel prototype as equivalent to variants of the vowel in the native, but not the non-native language. In the current behavioral stud...
Article
Full-text available
Previous behavioral studies have shown improved sensitivity to native-language contrasts and reduced sensitivity to non-native phonetic contrasts when comparing 6-8- and 10-12-month-old monolingual infants. It has been argued that exposure to language dedicates neural networks to the acoustic properties of native-language speech, and that, in adult...
Article
Full-text available
In order for stimuli to be perceptually discriminable, their representations in the brain must be distinct. Investigating the task of discriminating the syllables /ra/ and /la/, we hypothesized that the more distinct a person's neural representations of those sounds were, the better their behavioral ability to discriminate them would be. Standard n...
Article
Full-text available
Acoustic-phonetic exaggeration of infant-directed speech (IDS) is well documented, but few studies address whether these features are modified with a child's age. Mandarin-speaking mothers were recorded while addressing an adult and their child at two ages (0 ; 7-1 ; 0 and 5 ; 0) to examine the acoustic-phonetic differences between IDS and child-di...
Article
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The present study used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to examine perceptual learning of American English /r/ and /l/ categories by Japanese adults who had limited English exposure. A training software program was developed based on the principles of infant phonetic learning, featuring systematic acoustic exaggeration, multi-talker variability, visibl...
Article
Full-text available
The development of speech perception during the 1st year reflects increasing attunement to native language features, but the mechanisms underlying this development are not completely understood. One previous study linked reductions in nonnative speech discrimination to performance on nonlinguistic tasks, whereas other studies have shown association...
Article
Behavioral and neuroimaging evidence shows that bilinguals experience interference and competition during bilingual processing. The neural basis of bilingual language control is not well understood. Using mixed blocked and event-related design, the present study explored the sustained and transient activations during bilingual control. 15 Chinese-E...
Article
Previous research has linked increasing cognitive abilities to reductions in sensitivity to nonnative phonemes toward the end of the first year, but found no association between cognitive skills and native speech perception (Conboy et al., 2006; Lalonde & Werker, 1995). The present study examined cognitive abilities and brain activity to second-lan...
Article
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) provides a safe, noninvasive method for studying the developing brain by offering reliable localization of the brain regions activated during speech processing. However technical challenges make recording awake infants difficult. The small size of the infant head in the adult-sized helmet results in a low signal-to-nois...
Article
Full-text available
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) participated in a research study that involved both electrophysiological and behavioral measures. Event related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded during auditory presentation of known and unknown words. Behavioral measures of languagecognitive function and severity of autism symptoms were also collec...
Article
In adults, neural responses to the acoustic properties of native and non-native speech sounds differ. Recent magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies indicate that two regions of the brain, the superior temporal area and inferior parietal area (Broca's), in both the left and right hemispheres, may contribute to how the adult brain responds to the acous...
Article
It has been proposed that infant-directed speech (IDS) increases the discriminability of phonetic categories by exaggerating the acoustic differences between phonetic units (Kuhl et al., 1997, Science). However, reports show conflicting results on whether this principle holds for consonants. The current study measured English p b t d in both IDS an...
Article
Reading is a complex skill that is not mastered by all children. At the age of 5, on the cusp of prereading development, many factors combine to influence a child's future reading success, including neural and behavioural factors such as phonological awareness and the auditory processing of phonetic input, and environmental factors, such as socioec...
Article
Full-text available
Infants' speech perception skills show a dual change towards the end of the first year of life. Not only does non-native speech perception decline, as often shown, but native language speech perception skills show improvement, reflecting a facilitative effect of experience with native language. The mechanism underlying change at this point in devel...
Article
Infants learn language(s) with apparent ease, and the tools of modern neuroscience are providing valuable information about the mechanisms that underlie this capacity. Noninvasive, safe brain technologies have now been proven feasible for use with children starting at birth. The past decade has produced an explosion in neuroscience research examini...
Article
Full-text available
Using Mandarin Chinese, a "tone language" in which the pitch contours of syllables differentiate words, the authors examined the acoustic modifications of infant-directed speech (IDS) at the syllable level to test 2 hypotheses: (a) the overall increase in pitch and intonation contour that occurs in IDS at the phrase level would not distort lexical...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral studies have demonstrated that children develop a nearly adult-like grammar between 36 and 42 months, but few studies have addressed how the child's brain processes semantic versus syntactic information. In previous research, Silva-Pereyra and colleagues showed that distinct event-related potentials (ERPs) are elicited by semantic and sy...
Article
The present study investigated the effects of viewing specific articulators on auditory‐visual speech perception. We used a jaw‐only, lips‐only, jaw+lips, and full face visual stimulus paired with clear versus degraded auditory stimuli in an expanded factorial design. The unimodal and bimodal speech syllables were identified as one of five possible...
Article
Full-text available
We report a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and the scalp distribution of the normalized peak amplitude values for speech-related auditory Event-related Potentials (ERP) P150-250 and N250-550 in 7-, 11-, and 20-month-old American infants learning English and in 10-13-month-old Mexican infants learning Spanish. After assessing the infant auditory...
Article
I advance the hypothesis that the earliest phases of language acquisition -- the developmental transition from an initial universal state of language processing to one that is language-specific -- requires social interaction. Relating human language learning to a broader set of neurobiological cases of communicative development, I argue that the so...
Article
Speech perception during the first year reflects increasing attunement to native language phonetic features, but the mechanisms underlying this development are not well understood. Reductions in non‐native phonetic discrimination have been linked to improvement in native phonetic discrimination and later vocabulary growth (Kuhl et al., 2005), and p...
Article
Infants raised in monolingual families are equally good at native and non‐native speech discrimination early in life. By 12 months, performance on native speech has significantly improved while non‐native performance declines. We tested bilingual American infants at 7 and 11 months of age on native (/ta‐pa/) and non‐native (Mandarin affricate‐frica...
Article
This investigation explored 11‐month‐olds’ responses to changes in the phonetic (lyric) and pitch (melody) content of songs. Sixty infants were tested using a between‐subjects auditory preference paradigm. After being familiarized with a four‐note song, infants were presented with both the familiar song and a new song that contained either a novel...
Article
Language acquisition involves neural commitment to language‐specific auditory patterns, which may interfere with second language learning. This magnetoencephalography study tested whether perceptual interference could occur at the preattentive level. Auditory mismatch field (MMF) responses were recorded from ten American and ten Japanese adult subj...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have shown improved sensitivity to native-language contrasts and reduced sensitivity to non-native phonetic contrasts when comparing 6-8 and 10-12-month-old infants. This developmental pattern is interpreted as reflecting the onset of language-specific processing around the first birthday. However, generalization of this finding is...
Article
Discriminative responses to tones, harmonics, and syllables in the left hemisphere were measured with magnetoencephalography in neonates, 6-month-old infants, and 12-month-old infants using the oddball paradigm. Real-time head position tracking, signal space separation, and head position standardization were applied to secure quality data for sourc...
Article
Patterns of developmental change in phonetic perception are critical to theory development. Many previous studies document a decline in nonnative phonetic perception between 6 and 12 months of age. However, much less experimental attention has been paid to developmental change in native-language phonetic perception over the same time period. We hyp...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we present a summary of recent research linking speech perception in infancy to later language development, as well as a new empirical study examin-ing that linkage. Infant phonetic discrimination is initially language universal, but a decline in phonetic discrimination occurs for nonnative phonemes by the end of the 1st year. Expl...
Article
Studies suggest that exact mathematical terms (numbers, multiplication tables) are stored in the language in which they were originally learned. Bilingual adults are less accurate and slower when doing exact mathematical calculations using their non-dominant language. Approximate mathematical calculations appear not to be affected by language. The...
Article
Full-text available
Linguistic experience alters an individual's perception of speech. We here provide evidence of the effects of language experience at the neural level from two magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies that compare adult American and Japanese listeners' phonetic processing. The experimental stimuli were American English /ra/ and /la/ syllables, phonemic...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of reduced vowel working space on dysarthric talkers' speech intelligibility using both acoustic and perceptual approaches. In experiment 1, the acoustic-perceptual relationship between vowel working space area and speech intelligibility was examined in Mandarin-speaking young adults with cerebral...
Article
The goal of this study was to investigate the distinctiveness and the relative time course of the event-related brain potentials (ERP) elicited by syntactically and semantically anomalous words within sentences in 36- and 48-month-old children. ERPs were recorded while children listened to semantically anomalous (i.e., My uncle will blow the movie*...
Article
In a previous event-related brain potential study, we provided evidence that preschoolers display different brain electrical patterns to semantic content and syntactic structure processing. In the present study, we aimed to determine the time-course of these event-related potential effects in 30-month-old children, using the same syntactically anom...
Article
We report infant auditory event-related potentials to native and foreign contrasts. Foreign contrasts are discriminated at 11 months of age, showing significant differences between the standard and deviant over the positive (P150-250), or over the negative (N250-550) part of the waveform. The amplitudes of these deflections have different amplitude...
Article
Abstract Behavioral data establish a dramatic change in infants' phonetic perception between 6 and 12 months of age. Foreign-language phonetic discrimination significantly declines with increasing age. Using a longitudinal design, we examined the electrophysiological responses of 7- and 11-month-old American infants to native and non-native consona...
Article
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 mat...
Article
Infants learn language with remarkable speed, but how they do it remains a mystery. New data show that infants use computational strategies to detect the statistical and prosodic patterns in language input, and that this leads to the discovery of phonemes and words. Social interaction with another human being affects speech learning in a way that r...
Article
Infants' early phonetic perception is hypothesized to play an important role in language development. Previous studies have not assessed this potential link in the first 2 years of life. In this study, speech discrimination was measured in 6-month-old infants using a conditioned head-turn task. At 13, 16, and 24 months of age, language development...
Article
Full-text available
A computer model (expectation maximization of a mixture of Gaussians) is used to learn the positions of vowel categories from two sets of recorded words. The number of vowels is known beforehand. The results show that vowel positions learned on the basis of infant-directed (ID) speech correspond better to those in the input than those learned on th...
Article
Full-text available
Infants acquire language with remarkable speed, although little is known about the mechanisms that underlie the acquisition process. Studies of the phonetic units of language have shown that early in life, infants are capable of discerning differences among the phonetic units of all languages, including native- and foreign-language sounds. Between...
Article
Abstract The quality of speech directed towards infants may play an important role in infants’ language development. However, few studies have examined the link between the two. We examined the correlation between maternal speech clarity and infant speech perception performance in two groups of Mandarin-speaking mother–infant pairs. Maternal speech...