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Evaluation of a novel technique for assessing speech discrimination in children

Newton, C., Chiat, S. & Hald, L. (2008). Evaluation of a novel technique for assessing speech discrimination in children. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 22(4-5), pp. 325-333. doi: 10.1080/02699200801919117


Methods used to assess children's speech perception and recognition in the clinical setting are out of step with current methods used to investigate these experimentally. Traditional methods of assessing speech discrimination, such as picture pointing, yield accuracy scores which may fail to detect subtle perceptual difficulties. This paper will report a novel method of assessing speech input processing that uses measurement of children's eye movements to provide information on speed and confidence as well as accuracy in discriminating phonological contrasts. Participants were typically developing children aged 2–7 years. Pairs of pictures representing auditory minimal pairs which varied in type and degree of phonological contrast were presented on a computer screen while the child heard a word matching one of these pictures. The child's eye movements in response to these stimuli were videorecorded for subsequent analysis of duration and direction of gaze. The effects of age and stimulus type on eye gaze were examined. The results were compared with those of a traditional picture pointing task using the same stimuli. The informativeness of the novel technique is evaluated on the basis of the findings.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology, Linguistics, Rehabilitation, AUDIOLOGY & SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY, LINGUISTICS, REHABILITATION, SCI, REHABILITATION, SSCI, eye gaze, speech discrimination, children, assessment, PERCEPTION
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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