Repeat after me: Exploring what children’s speaking and singing reveals about their domain-specific knowledge
School/Affiliation:University of Toronto-Mississauga
Co-Authors:Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden
Virtual or In-person:In-person
Music and language are two important forms of communication that share many similarities. While pitch is an integral part of song and the relationships between pitches denote specific melodies, this importance is not mirrored in speech. In recent developmental studies, children’s categorization of speech and song reach adult-like proficiency by age 8 (Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden et al., 2022). The goal of this study is to explore whether children’s pitch production follows the same developmental trajectory as their pitch perception. Adapting the methodology used in recent pitch imitation tasks with adults, we will observe how well younger children (4-year-olds) and older children (8-year-olds) spontaneously match pitch for spoken and sung utterances. We predict that younger children will have similar performance for speech and song, which may suggest that they have not yet developed or are unable to apply this domain-specific knowledge. Based on the perceptual work previously mentioned, we predict that older children will spontaneously match pitch better for song than speech which will indicate that they have acquired and are able to apply domain-specific knowledge about the nature of pitch in speech versus song.