Traditionally, speech processing has mainly been regarded as an auditory-based phenomenon. However, to date, a vast amount of evidence has shown that both speech actions and speech sounds yield perceptual correlates. Indeed, in healthy adults, the brain network recruited by speech processing includes a regular contribution of the sensorimotor areas. This fits well with neuroscientific frameworks positing shared representations for actions and their perception.
In this context, infant studies on speech and language seek to understand the connection between sensorimotor maturation and phonological development. This project in collaboration with Irene Lorenzini (INCC) investigates the impact of sensorimotor development on early phonological acquisition. The data collection will take place at the BabyLab INCC, where the participants (6-to-8-month-olds) will take part into both behavioral (central fixation) and brain optical imaging studies (fNIRS). Home recordings documenting the linguistic environment of the participants will also be carried out using the LENA system.