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Role Of Auditory Babbling Essay

1389 words - 6 pages

The following article critique is on “the Role of Audition in Infant Babbling”. This article was written by D. Kimbrough Oller and Rebecca E. Eilers and was published by the journal Child Development in 1988. The purpose of this research is to see if deaf infants babble in the same way and at the same age as hearing infants. If they do, it would suggest that humans are born with a phonetic inheritance that happens without extensive exposure to sounds. The research done in this article does have it benefits such as being able to see the speech patterns in hearing infants and in deaf infants, and being able to see if they do develop at the same rate; but it also has it shortcomings such as the lack of consistency with most of the research when it comes to the number of subjects used on both sides and the time frame in which the data was collected.
This article compares the age at which infants who can hear and infants who are deaf start babbling. The study focuses on the canonical stage which is characterized by the production of reduplicated sequences such as ma-ma or da-da, and usually happens during the ages of seven and ten months. All canonical syllables must have at least one vowel of identifiable quality, a consonant, a duration of a syllable, and a normal pitch range. There were twenty-one hearing infants and nine deaf infants used in this study. However, out of this population only eleven hearing infants and seven deaf infants produced enough data to evaluate for the study. Each of these infants were placed in a sound treated chamber with quiet toys and chairs for the experimenter and a parent. High-fidelity recording equipment was used and the parent and experimenter were to be completely quiet while they tried to get vocal samples from the infant. The sample consisted of 50-75 sounds collected over a thirty minute time frame. The hearing infants were tested monthly across the first two years of life and the deaf infants were tested trimonthly or biweekly, depending on the accessibility of the child. Of the sample sounds collected from the eleven hearing infants, 653 samples were collected with an average of 59 per infant. All of the babbling samples were collected during the 11-14 month range. As for the seven deaf infants, 649 samples were collected with an average of 93 per infant. None of these infants started babbling until closer to the 25 month range. The same criteria for determining the onset of the canonical stage were used with the deaf infants as with the hearing. However, the criteria was more relaxed for the deaf infants for two reasons. One reason is that three of the deaf infants had not started babbling when they became unavailable for further testing. The other reason is that most of the samples from the deaf infants did not meet all of the criteria of a canonical syllable. Furthermore, of the samples collected from the deaf infants, none of the them produced a babbling ratio as high as .1; the...

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