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Olivier Clerc

Olivier Clerc


BSHM - Bureau D 109
1251 avenue Centrale
38058 GRENOBLE Cedex 09

Interactions between face processing and speech perception and its influence on early social cognition - Projet ANR BabyFaceSpeech

Supervisors : Olivier Pascalis (LPNC), Hélène Loevenbruck (LPNC)

Summary  : From the beginning of life infants are exposed to talking faces. During their first year they become attuned to their native language as well as to faces which belong to their parents’ ethnic group. In learning their native language, infants will use auditory as well as visual information. Although parallels in infants’ speech and face processing have been assumed, systematic research on the development of both abilities is still lacking. It is the aim of this project to investigate this issue by analyzing the interaction between speech and face processing in infants. In particular, we will investigate the extent to which this interaction is shaped by perceptual narrowing, which has been shown to take place in both modalities, and whether this interaction is modulated by bilingualism. To address these questions we will test native vs. non-native speech and own- vs. other-race face processing in French and German mono- and bilingual infants. These infants belong to the same Caucasian ethnic group, which will allow us to systematically test the influence of varying native languages by keeping ambient face race constant.
The expected theoretical outcome of the BabyFaceSpeech project is a thorough account of the interaction between speech and face processing during development and of the modulatory role of bilingualism on multimodal perceptual narrowing. Our project also has clinical applications as it will provide standards to assess infants and children who are at risk for speech and face processing delays and disorders (such as specific language impairment, autism spectrum syndrome, developmental prosopagnosia or developmental phonagnosia). The BabyFaceSpeech project also has societal outcomes as it will help disentangle factors that influence the development of the implicit racial bias.