Infants’ implicit rhyme perception in child songs and its relationship
Hahn, L. E., Benders, T., Fikkert, P., & Snijders, T. M.
Infants’ implicit rhyme perception in child songs and its relationship with vocabulary. Frontiers in Psychology, 12
: 680882. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.680882.
Rhyme perception is an important predictor for future literacy. Assessing rhyme
abilities, however, commonly requires children to make explicit rhyme judgements on
single words. Here we explored whether infants already implicitly process rhymes in
natural rhyming contexts (child songs) and whether this response correlates with later
vocabulary size. In a passive listening ERP study, 10.5 month-old Dutch infants were
exposed to rhyming and non-rhyming child songs. Two types of rhyme effects were
analysed: (1) ERPs elicited by the first rhyme occurring in each song (rhyme sensitivity)
and (2) ERPs elicited by rhymes repeating after the first rhyme in each song (rhyme
repetition). Only for the latter a tentative negativity for rhymes from 0 to 200 ms
after the onset of the rhyme word was found. This rhyme repetition effect correlated
with productive vocabulary at 18 months-old, but not with any other vocabulary
measure (perception at 10.5 or 18 months-old). While awaiting future replication, the
study indicates precursors of phonological awareness already during infancy and with
ecologically valid linguistic stimuli.