Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2013

Annecy, France
August 29 - September 1, 2013

Looking for the Bouba-Kiki Effect in Prelexical Infants

Mathilde Fort, Alexa Weiß, Alexander Martin, Sharon Peperkamp

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, ENS-CNRS-EHESS, Paris, France

Adults and toddlers systematically associate certain pseudowords, such as `bouba´ and `kiki´, with round and spiky shapes, respectively. The ontological origin of this so-called bouba-kiki effect is unknown: it could be an unlearned aspect of perception, appear with language exposure, or only emerge with the ability to produce speech sounds (i.e., babbling). We report the results of three experiments with five- and six-month-olds that found no bouba-kiki effect at all. We discuss the consequences of these findings for the emergence of cross-modal associations in infant speech perception.

Index Terms: sound symbolism, bouba-kiki effect, prelexical infants, early language acquisition

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fort, Mathilde / Weiß, Alexa / Martin, Alexander / Peperkamp, Sharon (2013): "Looking for the bouba-kiki effect in prelexical infants", In AVSP-2013, 71-76.