The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with a scaffolded, supported opportunity to start reading primary literature in psycholinguistics, and to build skills in identifying and writing about psycholinguistic research questions, hypotheses, and predictions. We will use and build on these skills in future assignments as we get deeper into various research areas and methodologies. 


Kuhl presents a certain view on infant acquisition of language sounds in the TED talk that you watched, which represents work from her lab and others researching this topic as well. This view is complicated by work like that of Narayan et al (2010), who found that it’s not only developmental age that influences when infants discriminate between certain sounds, and it’s not only about whether the sounds are “native”. Reading this paper will help you learn more about speech perception research as it relates to language acquisition, and more about how speech sounds vary across languages. This is the bibliographic information for the paper:

Narayan, C. R., Werker, J. F., & Beddor, P. S. (2010). The interaction between acoustic salience and language experience in developmental speech perception: Evidence from nasal place discrimination. Developmental Science13(3), 407–420

You can download and read that reading on the file that I sent you.

File name: “reading material Narayan, C. R”-this is the reading material for this assignments

Also please watch this video (Dr. Patricia Kuhl – The linguistic genius of babies):      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2XBIkHW954

If you have no linguistic background, and no background in these types of experiments, some details of this paper are going to be pretty obscure.  You don’t need to understand every detail about the methodologies and analyses used, but the aim is to extract the important conceptual pieces and features of the experimental designs, and to understand how they relate to the topics we are covering in class. -(I will provide the PowerPoint slides and other file that helps you to understand this assignment)

 check the file name:

  1. Experiment 4 Discussion Questions-Narayan et al. 2010
  2. ppt1,ppt2

Basic Assignment:

For this assignment, you should read the complete paper referenced above, and write a 250-500 word response that contextualizes the work in the paper in prior work such as that by Kuhl and colleagues. In that response essay, you should address all of the following questions:

-How does the Narayan et al (2010) research build upon the work of Kuhl and colleagues (as understood from the video assigned, which is simplified for a broad audience)?

-Why do Narayan et al choose the sounds and populations they do to answer their research question?

-What is Kuhl’s hypothesis about infant speech perception, and what would her hypothesis predict for Narayan et al’s (2010) experiment 2, and are those predictions “borne out” (observed) in Narayan et al’s results?

-Why is experiment 4 critical to testing the predictions of the hypothesized role of acoustic salience proposed by the authors? What does it demonstrate that goes beyond the experiments 1-3?

Other details:

You can use your textbook, notes, and other outside materials to help you answer these questions if needed. All sources used and cited should be reliable scientific sources and you should make sure to cite them clearly (in the text and include bibliographic information in the references section). Use quotation marks when including direct quotes (when absolutely necessary to quote).  Write in your own words as much as possible – quotations should only be used to convey a specific phrasing you need to preserve from an original source.

Aim to write these in a roughly “academic” style of English, but we will not be grading you based on your language use, as long as you make your points clear. When you need to cite sources, we are not too concerned about the formatting, but make sure the relevant information is included and use APA style or similar for any references (without stressing about exactly where each ‘period’ and ‘parenthesis’ goes, what is supposed to be italicized and such – mostly make sure the critical bibliographic content is there). You do not need to submit an “APA style paper” with title page, abstract, etc – we just suggest this as a guideline for formatting the citations/references.

Important points to keep in mind for assignments!

  • Write in academic style.
    • If you need to cite any other sources, make sure the relevant information is included.
    • Use APA style for any references.  We are not too concerned about the formatting other than that.
  • Do NOT copy and paste from the article. Use your own words when answering the questions.
  • Make sure to fully answer the questions, do not leave any parts.

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