Presentation by Dr. Takayuki Nakata
Perception and production of music and spoken prosody by children with cochlear implants
Abstract: This lecture reviews findings on perception and production of music as well speech prosody by child cochlear implant (CI) users. With proper (re)habilitation, cochlear implants (CIs) have been immensely successful in allowing users with severe hearing problems to attain good speech perception, especially in quiet environments. Because spectral resolution provided by CIs is coarse, clinicians and researchers initially predicted that implant users would find it difficult to decode rich pitch-patternings and timbre of music and speech prosody, but many child CI users are showing good abilities to hear and produce both speech prosody and music. We have found that typical child CI users can a) identify happy and sad emotions in speech in semantically neutral utterances that were normalized for amplitude (good prosody perception), b) imitate stereotyped utterances as well as culturally typically representations of animal sounds as well as young normally hearing children (good prosody production), and c) reproduce rhythms of melody as accurately as normally hearing children (good timing production). While pitch production by singing is difficult for many child CI users, some children with music training have shown large improvements in pitch direction and pitch range when their songs were recorded 6 years after their first recordings. Implications for effects of music training on development of speech and music perception will also be discussed.
Bio: Takayuki Nakata, Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Future University Hakodate (Hokkaido, Japan), received his doctoral degree in psychology from Texas Christian University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. His research interests include the perception and production of music and speech prosody by deaf children with cochlear implants and mother’s singing and speech to infants.