Early development of hemispheric specialization for speech processing

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2010
End date: 31/12/2012
Funding: 3240000 SEK


This project aims at studying the establishment of language-related specialization in the brain and its specific links to different phases of language development early in life. The primary experimental question is to determine the relationship between the emergence of specialized hemispheric lateralization and the spoken language?s linguistic variables that may have triggered that specialization. The characteristics of the infant?s lexical exposure and its potential relevance for the extraction of phonological structure will be studied. For instance, will exposure to rhymes or repetitive phonetic patterns that may disclose underlying phonological structures facilitate the emergence of hemispheric lateralization? To achieve this goal the project will use a combination of physiological and behavioural methods to assess the spatial and temporal structure of the subjects? cortical activity while solving different linguistic behavioural tasks. The physiological data will be evoked-response potentials and spatial distribution of cortical activity (EEG-data). The behavioural data will be responses to naturalistic speech stimuli, tested in multiple response situations, using audio-visual pairs where the correctness of the responses and the response latencies will be measured using an eye-tracking system. A large population will be studied in order to identify possible clinically relevant developmental differences between groups of typically and atypically developing children.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:58