Modified spectral tilt affects infants' native-language discrimination of approximants and vowels

Elizabeth Francis Beach*, William Noble, Christine Kitamura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


This study's aim was to determine if 6- and 9-month-old infants discriminate approximants and vowels when the spectral shape is modified to emphasize high- or low-frequency information. Infants were presented with /r/-/l/ and /ɔ/-/ɐ/ in three conditions: (a) unmodified; (b) -6 dB/octave tilt; and (c) +6 dB/octave tilt. Six-month-olds discriminated /ɔ/-/ɐ/ in conditions (a) and (b), and /r/-/l/ in conditions (a) and (c), but 9-month-olds only discriminated when unmodified. The results reflect native-language attunement. Six-month-olds discriminate spectrally modified sounds that emphasize relevant cues, but by 9 months, infants are sensitive to the native spectral profiles of speech.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)EL352-EL358
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2015 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(3), pp. EL352 - EL358 and may be found at


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