Michael H. Goldstein's research while affiliated with Cornell University and other places

Publications (39)

Conference Paper
Full-text available
What is the function of immature vocalizing in early learning environments? Previous work on infants in the US indicates that prelinguistic vocalizations elicit caregiver speech which is simplified in its linguistic structure. However, there is substantial cross-cultural variation in the extent to which children’s vocalizations elicit responses fro...
Article
Recent research has established the importance of animal personality traits in behavioural ecology, encompassing domains such as mate choice, cognition and social interactions. However, less is known about how personality traits predict parental behaviour. In the current study, we investigate these relationships in the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guta...
Article
Infants’ prelinguistic vocalizations reliably organize vocal turn‐taking with social partners, creating opportunities for learning to produce the sound patterns of the ambient language. This social feedback loop supporting early vocal learning is well‐documented, but its developmental origins have yet to be addressed. When do infants learn that the...
Preprint
What is the function of immature vocalizing in early learning environments? Previous work on infants in the US indicates that prelinguistic vocalizations elicit caregiver speech which is simplified in its linguistic structure. However, there is strong cross-cultural variation in the extent to which children’s vocalizations elicit responses from car...
Article
Full-text available
Socially guided vocal learning, the ability to use contingent reactions from social partners to guide immature vocalizations to more mature forms, is thought to be a rare ability known to be used only by humans, marmosets and two unrelated songbird species (brown-headed cowbirds and zebra finches). However, this learning strategy has never been inv...
Article
Full-text available
The capacity to learn novel vocalizations has evolved convergently in a wide range of species. Courtship songs of male birds or whales are often treated as prototypical examples, implying a sexually selected context for the evolution of this ability. However, functions of learned vocalizations in different species are far more diverse than courtshi...
Article
Full-text available
Our prior research posits that the prelinguistic vocalizations of infants may elicit caregiver speech which is simplified in its linguistic structure. Caregivers’ speech clearly contributes to infants’ development; infants’ communicative and cognitive development are predicted by their ambient language environment. There are at least two sources of...
Article
In species with long-term pair bonds, such as zebra finches, evaluating the quality of potential mates is critically important. Courtship is an opportunity to evaluate information from dynamic behavioural cues. Personality traits, as stable individual differences in behaviour, could predict the quality of a potential mate. How might personality tra...
Article
Full-text available
Human infants are altricial, born relatively helpless and dependent on parental care for an extended period of time. This protracted time to maturity is typically regarded as a necessary epiphenomenon of evolving and developing large brains. We argue that extended altriciality is itself adaptive, as a prolonged necessity for parental care allows ex...
Article
Full-text available
Active guidance of vocal learning by conspecifics has recently been found in several species, including some cetaceans and primates. However, in the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, a commonly studied songbird, vocal learning was traditionally considered the product of memorization and imitation of a song model. Only recently have specific social...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
What is the function of babbling in language learning? Our recent findings suggest that infants’ immature vocalizations may elicit simplified linguistic responses from their caregivers. The contributions of parental speech to infant development are well established; individual differences in the number of words in infants’ ambient language environm...
Article
Full-text available
What is the function of babbling in language learning? We examined the structure of parental speech as a function of contingency on infants’ non-cry prelinguistic vocalizations. We analyzed several acoustic and linguistic measures of caregivers’ speech. Contingent speech was less lexically diverse and shorter in utterance length than non-contingent...
Article
In typical development, communicative skills such as language emerge from infants' ability to combine multisensory information into cohesive percepts. For example, the act of associating the visual or tactile experience of an object with its spoken name is commonly used as a measure of early word learning, and social attention and speech perception...
Article
Statistical learning (SL), sensitivity to probabilistic regularities in sensory input, has been widely implicated in cognitive and perceptual development. Little is known, however, about the underlying mechanisms of SL and whether they undergo developmental change. One way to approach these questions is to compare SL across perceptual modalities. W...
Article
Learning of song in birds provides a powerful model for human speech developmentcu. However, the degree to which songbirds and humans share social mechanisms of vocal learning is unknown. Although it has been demonstrated as a vocal learning mechanism in human infants, learning via active social feedback is considered rare and atypical among non-hu...
Article
In human infants, the ability to share attention with others is facilitated by increases in attentional selectivity and focus. Differences in early attention have been associated with socio‐cognitive outcomes including language, yet the social mechanisms of attention organization in early infancy have only recently been considered. Here, we examine...
Article
What is the social function of babbling? An important function of prelinguistic vocalizing may be to elicit parental behavior in ways that facilitate the infant's own learning about speech and language. Infants use parental feedback to their babbling to learn new vocal forms, but the microstructure of parental responses to babbling has not been stu...
Article
Full-text available
Vocal learning from social partners is crucial for the successful development of communication in a wide range of species. Social interactions organize attention and enhance motivation to learn species-typical behaviour. However, the neurobiological mechanisms connecting social motivation and vocal learning are unknown. Using zebra finches (Taeniop...
Article
Full-text available
Natural behaviors, such as foraging, tool use, social interaction, birdsong, and language, exhibit branching sequential structure. Such structure should be learnable if it can be inferred from the statistics of early experience. We report that juvenile zebra finches learn such sequential structure in song. Song learning in finches has been extensiv...
Article
Full-text available
In birds, early exposure to steroid hormones deposited in egg yolks is hypothesized to result in long-lasting effects on brain and behavior. However, the long-term effects of maternal androgens on the development of social behavior, and whether these could interfere with the effects of the endogenous gonadal hormones that mediate sexual differentia...
Article
Full-text available
Students often have difficulty getting past the use of folk-psychological terms (e.g., wants, loves, fears) when explaining behaviour. They assume that complex behaviours require similarly complex causal structures. For this study, the authors developed a two-week robotics project to demonstrate that complex behaviours can also emerge from simple m...
Article
Why are people more irritated by nearby cell-phone conversations than by conversations between two people who are physically present? Overhearing someone on a cell phone means hearing only half of a conversation--a "halfalogue." We show that merely overhearing a halfalogue results in decreased performance on cognitive tasks designed to reflect the...
Article
Two studies illustrate the functional significance of a new category of prelinguistic vocalizing—object-directed vocalizations (ODVs)—and show that these sounds are connected to learning about words and objects. Experiment 1 tested 12-month-old infants’ perceptual learning of objects that elicited ODVs. Fourteen infants’ vocalizations were recorded...
Article
How are hierarchically structured sequences of objects, events or actions learned from experience and represented in the brain? When several streams of regularities present themselves, which will be learned and which ignored? Can statistical regularities take effect on their own, or are additional factors such as behavioral outcomes expected to inf...
Article
Infant songbirds and humans face a similar task: to produce a functional repertoire of sounds that operates within the communication system of conspecifics. The mechanisms by which infants learn to talk and birds learn to sing share parallels at the neural, behavioral, and social levels of organization. By making immature sounds and observing the r...
Article
The early noncry vocalizations of infants are salient social signals. Caregivers spontaneously respond to 30%-50% of these sounds, and their responsiveness to infants' prelinguistic noncry vocalizations facilitates the development of phonology and speech. Have infants learned that their vocalizations influence the behavior of social partners? If th...
Article
Infants' prelinguistic vocalizations are rarely considered relevant for communicative development. As a result, there are few studies of mechanisms underlying developmental changes in prelinguistic vocal production. Here we report the first evidence that caregivers' speech to babbling infants provides crucial, real-time guidance to the development...
Article
Full-text available
Few studies have focused on mechanisms of developmental change during the prelinguistic period. The lack of focus on early vocal development is surprising given that maternal responsiveness to infants during the first two years has been found to influence later language development. In addition, in a variety of species, social feedback is essential...
Article
Vocal development in young male cowbirds (Molothrus ater) is sensitive to acoustical stimulation from males, but also to social feedback from female cowbirds, even though females do not sing. Juvenile males show different vocal trajectories if housed with local or distant population females. The major goal of the present study was to identify diffe...
Article
This chapter considers the ways in which vocal and other forms of music may function to foster communication between otherwise disconnected individuals. It begins with a metaphorical example. Interesting problems of recognition and communication occur on Earth without the need to consider the extraterrestrial dimension. When traveling to another co...
Article
Birdsong is considered a model of human speech development at behavioral and neural levels. Few direct tests of the proposed analogs exist, however. Here we test a mechanism of phonological development in human infants that is based on social shaping, a selective learning process first documented in songbirds. By manipulating mothers' reactions to...
Article
The salience of infants' vocal and visual cues was examined to evaluate the efficacy of prelinguistic vocalizations to guide adult behavior. A videotape, constructed of brief behavioral episodes from 3 infants with different-sized vocal repertoires, was played to 40 mothers of prelinguistic infants. Playback mothers' responses to the episodes were...

Citations

... But this may stem from the subtlety of the interactions involved so that the possibility has not been examined in many. Carouso-Peck & Goldstein [17] have looked at a wide variety of songbirds and identified several features that make such influences likely. They thus pinpoint a group of species, scattered across the phylogenetic tree of songbirds that deserve study from this viewpoint. ...
... We did not revisit the contexts in which learned sounds are used or in which vocal learning may have evolved. These have not changed fundamentally [98] since the review by Janik & Slater [3] (but see Caruso et al. [99] for a broader look at contexts). Vocal convergence in the development of social relationships and potential adjustments animals make to cope with added noise in the environment have been highlighted as possible additional contexts for vocal learning [84]. ...
... What role do children play in structuring the learnability of the ambient language? By 9 months, infants can regulate the complexity of their caregivers' speech simply by vocalizing (Elmlinger, Park, Schwade, & Goldstein, 2021;Elmlinger, Schwade, & Goldstein, 2019a, 2019b. The causal flow from infants' vocalizations to changes in adult speech is established. ...
... Yet, they can distinguish human faces from other stimuli by 1 week, associate lip movements with sounds by 5 months, and preferentially seek information from reliable social agents by 18 months. 18 Such early social learning is required for threat identification and survival. Brain growth is also delayed in humans compared with other species. ...
... In particular, vocal interactions can occur between adults and juveniles of many species and are often crucial for developing adult-like vocal communication (humans, Goldstein and Schwade, 2008;birds, Chen et al., 2016;primates, Koda et al., 2013), enhancing vocal production learning (i., the ability to change the structure of vocalizations due to hearing others). In birds, for example, this process can occur by listening to a tutor (Mennill et al., 2018) or during direct interactions between older and younger animals (Rivera-Cáceres et al., 2018;Carouso-Peck et al., 2020). ...
... What role do children play in structuring the learnability of the ambient language? By 9 months, infants can regulate the complexity of their caregivers' speech simply by vocalizing (Elmlinger, Park, Schwade, & Goldstein, 2021;Elmlinger, Schwade, & Goldstein, 2019a, 2019b. The causal flow from infants' vocalizations to changes in adult speech is established. ...
... Children with ASD seldom actively communicate with others in the form of speech-like vocalizations, according to the socially motivated deficiency model of the disorder. Additionally, the development of children's speech-like vocalizations requires the interaction of children and adults as two separate topics [28,72]. ...
... However, research on the acquisition of words for concrete objects mainly focuses on labeling visual objects, leaving many of the other modalities largely untouched (Friedrich & Friederici, 2008, 2011Horst & Samuelson, 2008;Junge et al., 2012;Smith & Yu, 2008;Taxitari et al., 2019;Werker et al., 1998). This is surprising as modality is known to have an impact on the parameters and the outcome of learning and memory (Emberson et al., 2019;Thiessen, 2010), but has often not been considered in the context of language learning. In order to learn the meaning of a word, the learner must first realize that there is a relationship between an object and its specific label. ...
... In contrast, infant SL might be more affected by perceptual information earlier rather than later in development as the developing learning systems are less robust and not able to compensate for biases in perceptual processing. Answers to these questions will inform broader investigations of whether SL is developmentally invariant (Kirkham et al., 2002;Saffran, Newport, Aslin, Tunick, & Barrueco, 1997) or whether SL abilities improve with age (Thiessen, Hill, & Saffran, 2005;Arciuli & Simpson, 2011; see discussion by Misyak, Goldstein, & Christiansen, 2012), and how SL contributes to the development across different domains (e.g., relations between developmental changes in auditory SL and early language development). ...
... In a child's development, the ability to move and perform complex activities related to large and small motor skills is of particular importance [10,11]. Motor development affects the processes of thinking and processing stimuli reaching the child from the environment [12]. ...