Infancy studies come of age : Jacques Mehler's influence on the importance of perinatal experience for early language learning

Panneton, R. and Bremner, J.G. and Johnson, S.P. (2021) Infancy studies come of age : Jacques Mehler's influence on the importance of perinatal experience for early language learning. Cognition, 213: 104543. ISSN 0010-0277

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In this paper, we pay homage to Jacques Mehler's empirical and theoretical contributions to the field of infancy studies. We focus on studies of the ability of the human fetus and newborn to attend to, learn from, and remember aspects of the environment, in particular the linguistic environment, as a part of an essential dynamic system of early influence. We provide a selective review of Mehler's and others' studies that examined the perinatal period and helped to clarify the earliest skills and predilections that infants bring to the task of language learning. We then highlight findings on newborns' perceptual skills and biases that motivated a shift in researchers' focus to fetal learning to better understand the role of the maternal voice in guiding newborns' speech perception. Finally, we point to the inspiration drawn from these perinatal approaches to more full-scale empirical treatments of how prenatal experience and behavior have come to be recognized as essential underpinnings to the earliest mental architectures of human cognition.

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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cognition, 213, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104543
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?? articlefemalefetushumanhuman experimentinfancyinfantlanguage developmentnewbornperinatal periodskillspeech perceptiontheoretical studyvoicelinguistics and languagecognitive neuroscienceexperimental and cognitive psychologylanguage and linguistics ??
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29 Jan 2021 21:11
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 21:18