Seeing a talking face matters: The relationship between cortical tracking of continuous auditory ‐visual speech and gaze behaviour in infants, children and adults
Tan, S.H. Jessica
Di Liberto, Giovanni M.
Crosse, Michael J.
MetadataShow full item record
S.H. Jessica Tan, Marina Kalashnikova, Giovanni M. Di Liberto, Michael J. Crosse, Denis Burnham, Seeing a talking face matters: The relationship between cortical tracking of continuous auditory‐visual speech and gaze behaviour in infants, children and adults, NeuroImage, Volume 256, 2022, 119217, ISSN 1053-8119, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119217
An auditory-visual speech benefit, the benefit that visual speech cues bring to auditory speech perception, is experienced from early on in infancy and continues to be experienced to an increasing degree with age. While there is both behavioural and neurophysiological evidence for children and adults, only behavioural evidence exists for infants –as no neurophysiological study has provided a comprehensive examination of the auditory- visual speech benefit in infants. It is also surprising that most studies on auditory-visual speech benefit do not concurrently report looking behaviour especially since the auditory-visual speech benefit rests on the assumption that listeners attend to a speaker’s talking face and that there are meaningful individual differences in looking behaviour. To address these gaps, we simultaneously recorded electroencephalographic (EEG) and eye-tracking data of 5-month-olds, 4-year-olds and adults as they were presented with a speaker in auditory-only (AO), visual- only (VO), and auditory-visual (AV) modes. Cortical tracking analyses that involved forward encoding models of the speech envelope revealed that there was an auditory-visual speech benefit [i.e., AV > ( A + V )], evident in 5-month-olds and adults but not 4-year-olds. Examination of cortical tracking accuracy in relation to looking behaviour, showed that infants’ relative attention to the speaker’s mouth (vs. eyes) was positively correlated with cortical tracking accuracy of VO speech, whereas adults’ attention to the display overall was negatively correlated with cortical tracking accuracy of VO speech. This study provides the first neurophysiological evidence of auditory-visual speech benefit in infants and our results suggest ways in which current models of speech processing can be fine-tuned.