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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Human voice perception plays a significant role in day-to-day interactions. However, little is known about how newborns and infants perceive and process this information. Yet the ability to perceive vocal cues is crucial, not only for speech and language learning, but also for the development of key social skills such as perceiving other people’s emotions. It is therefore important to understand how, typically, developing infants perceive and process this information in the first few months of life. The aim of this chapter is to provide a better understanding of the early development of these abilities as well as an overview of the key recent behavioural and neuroimaging studies in fetuses, newborns, and infants. The chapter describes and discusses how newborns and infants perceive human voices; how they extract and learn social cues from vocalizations; and how they use this information to learn language.

Keywords: infant, newborn, voice perception, prosodic processing, social learning, speech, vocalization

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