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Volume 10 Issue 2 (March 2007), Pages F1-F14, 159-279

Constructing adequate non‐speech analogues: what is special about speech anyway? (pages 165-168)


Vouloumanos and Werker (2007) claim that human neonates have a (possibly innate) bias to listen to speech based on a preference for natural speech utterances over sine‐wave analogues. We argue that this bias more likely arises from the strikingly different saliency of voice melody in the two kinds of sounds, a bias that has already been shown to be learned pre‐natally. Possible avenues of research to address this crucial issue are proposed, based on a consideration of the distinctive acoustic properties of speech.

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