Doctor Christine Kitamura

Doctor Christine Kitamura

Adjunct Fellow,
Marcs Institute For Brain, Behaviour & Development

Biography

I obtained my PhD from the University of New South Wales in 1999, and my expertise is in the area of language acquisition and infant-directed speech.  My long-held pursuit has been to understand how exposure to the exaggerated emotional prosody embodied in infant-directed speech functions to (i) maintain infant attention, (ii) facilitate early mother-infant communication, and (iii) bootstrap language acquisition.  The exploration of the function of infant directed input has led me to probe the interface of infant-directed speech and language acquisition, including two  common conditions that hinder it: infant hearing impairment and at- risk status of dyslexia.    How such conditions undermine  mother-infant interaction and speech acquisition not only inform models of speech perception and dyadic interaction, but also have implications for the design of infant hearing prostheses,  intervention programs for language-impaired children, and the modelling of human interactive behaviour more generally.

My current research interests focus on:  (1) Auditory-visual speech processing using naturally expressive continuous speech (infant directed speech) to chart the development of infants’ sensitivity to visual prosodic and articulatory cues conveyed by motion in different regions of the face and head.  (2) The use of accent variation to probe how normal children, and those with language difficulties (dyslexia and autism) develop word constancy across different accents (pronunciations) of the same word.   The development of a precursory pattern is seen in infants who, by 9 months, show undifferentiated responses to their own and another accent signalling the emergence of language constancy, or the recognition that different accents belong to a common language.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Kitamura.

Qualifications

  • BA University of New South Wales
  • PHD University of New South Wales

Interests

  • accent perception
  • auditory-visual speech
  • hearing impairment
  • infant directed speech
  • mother-infant interactions

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Marcs Institute For Brain, Behaviour & Development

Contact

Email: C.Kitamura@westernsydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9772 6556
Mobile: 0402021496
Location: 24.1.34
Bankstown
Website:

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Teaching

Previous Teaching Areas

  • 100023 Psychology of Language, 2012
  • 101676 Human Learning, 2012
  • 101676 Human Learning, 2013

Publications

Chapters in Books

  • Kitamura, C. (2014), 'Infant-directed speech : social and linguistic pathways in tonal and non-tonal languages', South and Southeast Asian Psycholinguistics, Cambridge University Press 9781107017764.
  • Kitamura, C. (2014), 'Hyper-articulation of child-directed speech', Encyclopedia of Language Development, Sage 9781452258768.
  • Best, C. and Kitamura, C. (2012), 'Accent on language development : using dialects to trace how children come to recognise spoken words', Psychology, John Wiley & Sons Australia 9781742166445.
  • Burnham, D., Kitamura, C. and Mattock, K. (2007), 'Psycholinguistics meets Psycholinguistics: different emphases, sustainable collaborations', Unfolding linguistics in honour of Sudaporn Luksaneeyanawin, Chulalongkorn University Press 9789749897690.

Journal Articles

  • Guellai, B., Streri, A., Chopin, A., Rider, D. and Kitamura, C. (2016), 'Newborns' sensitivity to the visual aspects of infant-directed speech : evidence from point-line displays of talking faces', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, vol 42, no 9 , pp 1275 - 1281.
  • Kondaurova, M., Bergeson, T., Xu, H. and Kitamura, C. (2015), 'Affective properties of mothers' speech to infants with hearing impairment and cochlear implants', Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, vol 58, no 3 , pp 590 - 600.
  • Beach, E., Noble, W. and Kitamura, C. (2015), 'Modified spectral tilt affects infants' native-language discrimination of approximants and vowels', Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol 138, no 3 , pp 352 - 358.
  • Lee, C., Kitamura, C., Burnham, D. and Todd, N. (2014), 'On the rhythm of infant- versus adult-directed speech in Australian English', Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol 136, no 1 , pp 357 - 365.
  • Escudero, P., Best, C., Kitamura, C. and Mulak, K. (2014), 'Magnitude of phonetic distinction predicts success at early word learning in native and non-native accents', Frontiers in Psychology, vol 5 .
  • Kitamura, C., Guellai, B. and Kim, J. (2014), 'Motherese by eye and ear : infants percieve visual prosody in point-line displays of talking heads', PLoS One, vol 9, no 10 .
  • Xu Rattanasone, N., Burnham, D., Kitamura, C. and Vollmer-Conna, U. (2013), 'Vowel hyperarticulation in parrot-, dog- and infant- directed speech', Anthrozoos, vol 26, no 3 , pp 373 - 380.
  • Kitamura, C., Panneton, R. and Best, C. (2013), 'The development of language constancy : attention to native versus nonnative accents', Child Development, vol 84, no 5 , pp 1686 - 1700.
  • Mulak, K., Best, C., Tyler, M., Kitamura, C. and Irwin, J. (2013), 'Development of phonological constancy : 19-month-olds, but not 15-month-olds, identify words in a non-native regional accent', Child Development, vol 84, no 6 , pp 2064 - 2078.
  • Creighton, A., Atherton, M. and Kitamura, C. (2013), 'Singing play songs and lullabies : investigating the subjective contributions to maternal attachment constructs', Australian Journal of Music Therapy, vol 24 , pp 17 - 44.
  • Lam, C. and Kitamura, C. (2012), 'Mommy, speak clearly : induced hearing loss shapes vowel hyperarticulation', Developmental Science, vol 15, no 2 , pp 212 - 221.
  • Beach, E. and Kitamura, C. (2011), 'Modified Spectral Tilt Affects Older, but Not Younger, Infants' Native-Language Fricative Discrimination', Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, vol 54, no . , pp 658 - 667.
  • Lam, C. and Kitamura, C. (2010), 'Maternal Interactions with a Hearing and Hearing-Imparied Twin: Similarities and Differences in Speech Input, Interaction Quality, and Word Production', Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vol 53, no 1 , pp 543 - 555.
  • Kitamura, C. and Lam, C. (2009), 'Age-specific preferences for infant-directed affective intent', Infancy, vol 14, no 1 , pp 77 - 100.
  • Kitamura, C. and Notley, A. (2009), 'The shift in infant preferences for vowel duration and pitch contour between 6 and 10 months of age', Developmental Science, vol 12, no 5 , pp 706 - 714.
  • Panneton, R., Kitamura, C., Mattock, K. and Burnham, D. (2006), 'Slow Speech Enhances Younger But not older infants' perception of Vocal Emotion', Research in Human Development, vol 3, no 1 , pp 7 - 19.
  • Agung, K., Purdy, S. and Kitamura, C. (2005), 'The Ling Sound Test Revisited', The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Audiology, vol 27, no 1 , pp 33 - 41.
  • Kitamura, C. and Burnham, D. (2003), 'Pitch and communicative intent in mother's speech: Adjustments for age and sex in the first year.', Infancy, vol 4, no 1 , pp 85 - 110.
  • Kitamura, C., Thanavishuth, C., Burnham, D. and Luksaneeyanawin, S. (2002), 'Universality of specificity in infant-directed speech: Pitch modifications as a function of infant age and sex in a tonal and non-tonal language.', Infant Behaviour and Development, vol 24 , pp 372 - 392.
  • Burnham, D., Kitamura, C. and Vollmer-Conna, U. (2002), 'What's new, pussycat? On talking to babies and animals.', Science, vol 296 , pp 1435 - 1435.
  • Beach, F., Burnham, D. and Kitamura, C. (2001), 'Bilingualisam and the relationship between perception and production: Greek-English', International Journal of Bilingualism, vol 5 , pp 221 - 235.

Conference Papers

  • Best, C., Kitamura, C., Gates, S. and Carpenter, A. (2016), 'Does a vowel by any other accent sound the same ... to toddler ears?', Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Parramatta, N.S.W..
  • Best, C., Kroos, C., Mulak, K., Halovic, S., Fort, M. and Kitamura, C. (2015), 'Message vs. messenger effects on cross-modal matching for spoken phrases', Joint Conference on Facial Analysis, Animation and Auditory-Visual Speech Processing, Vienna, Austria.
  • Kim, J., Davis, C. and Kitamura, C. (2012), 'Auditory-visual speech to infants and adults : signals and correlations', Interspeech, Portland, Or..
  • Kitamura, C. and Kim, J. (2010), 'Infants match auditory and visual speech in schematic point-light displays', 9th International Conference on Auditory-Visual Speech Processing, Japan.
  • Lam, C. and Kitamura, C. (2008), 'Your Baby Can't Hear You: How Mothers Talk to Infants with Simulated Hearing Loss', Interspeech 2008, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Beach, E., Kitamura, C., Dillon, H., Ching, T. and Burnham, D. (2008), 'The effect of spectral tilt on infants' discrimination of fricatives', Interspeech 2008, Brisbane Australia.
  • Xu, N., Burnham, D. and Kitamura, C. (2007), 'Vowels and Tones in Infant Directed Speech: Hyperarticulation for Both, but different Developmental Patterns', Interspeech 2007, Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Kitamura, C., Panneton, R., Diehl, M. and Notley, A. (2006), 'Attuning to the native dialect: When more means less', 11th Australian International Conference on Speech Science & Technology, University of Auckland.
  • Lam, C. and Kitamura, C. (2006), 'Developmental trends in infant preferences for affective intent in mothers' speech', 11th Australian International Conference on Speech Science & Technology, University of Auckland.
  • Kitamura, C. and Lorenzo, J. (2004), 'Vowel Duration and Pitch Contour as Contenders for Infant Attention', 10th Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Macquarie University, Sydney.

infant-directed speech, language acquisition, accent perception, word learning, auditory-visual speech perception, mother-infant interaction, hearing and hearing impairment, dyslexia.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Kitamura.

Current Projects

Title: Children's generalisation and adaptation to unfamiliar regional accents reveal the path of early word learning
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Catherine Best and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2013-04-01 - 2017-12-31
ID: P00020819
Title: The impact of vocal emotion on early word learning: Behavioural and neural responses to parental IDS in Swedish and Australian English [via Stockholm Uni]
Funder:
  • Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura and Christa Lam-Cassettari
Years: 2014-07-01 - 2018-12-31
ID: P00021679

Previous Projects

Title: Spectral Tilt: Do infants know what's good for them? (DP0559134)
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura
Years: 2005-01-18 - 2009-10-30
ID: P0009940
Title: Computational modelling of rhythm in music and speech
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura
Years: 2004-09-06 - 2005-09-05
ID: P0013680
Title: Infant-directed speech: Advantages for young language learners
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura and Denis Burnham
Years: 2003-01-04 - 2004-01-31
ID: P0011706
Title: Communicative Musicality - are the Origins of Music evident in Mother-Infant Interactions?
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura and Agnes Petocz
Years: 2001-01-01 - 2001-12-31
ID: P0011860
Title: Infant discrimination of spectrally weighted speech
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura
Years: 2004-02-16 - 2005-02-15
ID: P0011594
Title: Native Language Attunment by Infants with a Hearing Loss
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
  • University of California Los Angeles
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura
Years: 2006-11-24 - 2008-06-30
ID: P0015325
Title: The Song & Dance of Mother and Infant in Health & Depression Vocalisations and Hand Gestures in Post Natal Depression
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
  • St John of God Hospital
  • Karitane
Western Researchers: Denis Burnham, Christine Kitamura and Stephen Malloch
Years: 2001-01-01 - 2004-12-19
ID: P0009526
Title: The Melody of Mother Infant Conversations: Determinations of the Acoustics Correlates of Emotion in Speech
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Denis Burnham and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2000-01-01 - 2000-12-31
ID: P0011182
Title: Optimal Training Methods for Lexical Tone Perception by Children with Cochlear Implants: Application of Experimental Psychology Techniques
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
  • Cochlear Limited
Western Researchers: Denis Burnham and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2005-08-22 - 2009-08-31
ID: P0014573
Title: Music cognition in infants, children and adults
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Kate Stevens and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2004-01-06 - 2006-06-30
ID: P0012720
Title: How Strict is the Mother tongue? Using Dialects to Probe Early Speech Perception and Word Recognition
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Catherine Best and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2007-01-01 - 2011-12-31
ID: P0015136
Title: Enabling Human Communication: Tough problems in human communication with bold but informed solutions drawing on sound, speech and language research capabilities
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
  • Australasian Speech Science & Technology Association
  • MQ USYD UQ UM RMIT ANU UNE QUT UWA UNSW UC
  • Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (non ACRG)
  • University of Western Sydney
  • Australian Music and Psychology Society
Western Researchers: Denis Burnham, Kate Stevens and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2004-12-06 - 2010-12-31
ID: P0014346
Title: Movement and communication analysis lab and portable audience response facility
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (Other Research Grants)
  • University of Western Sydney
  • University of New South Wales
Western Researchers: Kate Stevens, Stephen Malloch, Denis Burnham and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2003-01-01 - 2003-12-31
ID: P0013634
Title: From Talking Heads to Thinking Heads: A Research Platform for Human Communication Science
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Denis Burnham, Kate Stevens and Christine Kitamura
Years: 2006-10-31 - 2014-07-17
ID: P0015054
Title: Look at me! Look at me! The evolution of infants' attention to emotional expression
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura
Years: 2005-02-01 - 2006-01-31
ID: P0014481
Title: Perception and Action in Auditory Scenes (PAAS): Neural, Behavioural, Computational and Mechanical Systems
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Denis Burnham, Kate Stevens, Stephen Malloch, Christine Kitamura, George Bryan, Carolyn Mcgregor, John Gal, Gu Fang, Marija Tabain and Mark Wiggins
Years: 2004-01-02 - 2004-11-30
ID: P0014230
Title: Motherese by ear and eye: Infant perception of visual prosody
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura and Jeesun Kim
Years: 2012-03-01 - 2015-02-28
ID: P00020110
Title: Is seeing, hearing? Infant perception of visual prosody
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Christine Kitamura
Years: 2010-11-03 - 2012-06-30
ID: P00019781

Supervision

Doctor Kitamura is available to be a principal supervisor for doctoral projects

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Low Frequency Gain Compensation in Directional Hearing Aids for Mandarin Listeners
Field of Research:

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