Table of Contents
ISRN Neurology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 702986, 9 pages
Research Article

Event-Related Potentials to an English/Spanish Syllabic Contrast in Mexican 10–13-Month-Old Infants

1Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7988, USA
2Facultad de Lenguas y Letras, Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, 76140 Queretaro, QRO, Mexico
3Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Received 12 October 2011; Accepted 17 November 2011

Academic Editors: R. Elliott, K. W. Lange, and P. G. Simos

Copyright © 2012 Maritza Rivera-Gaxiola et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report brain electrophysiological responses from 10- to 13-month-old Mexican infants while listening to native and foreign CV-syllable contrasts differing in Voice Onset Time (VOT). All infants showed normal auditory event-related potential (ERP) components. Our analyses showed ERP evidence that Mexican infants are capable of discriminating their native sounds as well as the acoustically salient (aspiration) foreign contrast. The study showed that experience with native language influences VOT perception in Spanish learning infants. The acoustic salience of aspiration is perceived by both Spanish and English learning infants, but exposure provides additional phonetic status to this native-language feature for English learning infants. The effects of early experience and neural commitment as well as the impact of acoustic salience are further discussed.