Seminars of the Department of Psychology

Prof. David Lewkowicz

Multisensory Perception and Selective Attention in Infancy and Beyond: Their Role in Speech & Language Processing and Acquisition

During social interactions, we not only hear speech but see it as well. I will discuss the importance of the multisensory aspects of speech and language in early development. I will begin by reviewing some of our past work on the development of multisensory processing in infancy showing that multisensory processing begins early in infancy and that it improves as infants grow and acquire experience. Then, I will present our latest findings on infant response to talking faces showing (a) that infant deployment of selective attention to different parts of a talker’s face changes dramatically across the first two years of life, (b) that these changes in selective attention result in the emergence of lipreading, (c) that infants’ reliance on lipreading depends on their specific early linguistic experience, and (d) that lipreading is driven by the multisensory redundancy of the concurrent auditory and visual speech information. Then, I will present some of our latest findings from our studies of young children and adults showing that multisensory processing mechanisms play an important role in responsiveness to audiovisual speech and language throughout the lifespan. I will conclude by arguing that multisensory processes not only play a critical role in the acquisition of speech and language in infancy and beyond but that they are a fundamental aspect of perception and cognition.




Tuesday 5th November 2019, h 14.30 

Sala Lauree Psicologia, U6 (3rd piano) 

Free entry


Prof.ssa Chiara Turati