Neonates prefer human speech to other nonlinguistic auditory stimuli. However, it remains an open question whether there are any conceptual consequences of words on object categorization in infants younger than 6 months. The current study examined the influence of words and tones on object categorization in forty-six 3- to 4-month-old infants. Infants were familiarized to different exemplars of a category accompanied by either a labeling phrase or a tone sequence. In test, infants viewed novel category and new within-category exemplars. Infants who heard labeling phrases provided evidence of categorization at test while infants who heard tone sequences did not, suggesting that infants as young as 3 months of age treat words and tones differently vis-à-vis object categorization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology