1. Home
  2. Research
  3. Centers & Labs
  4. RIKEN Center for Brain Science

RIKEN Center for Brain Science Laboratory for Language Development

Laboratory Head: Reiko Mazuka (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Reiko  Mazuka(Ph.D.)

We investigate how young infants become interested in speech that surround them, and learn to be the speaker of that language. In particular, we focus on the role of 'prosody' (i.e., intonation, rhythm and other suprasegmental characteristics of the speech) in language acquisition. We study how infants become attuned to the prosodic characteristics of their ambient language, and how acquiring it would affect other domains of language development.


  • Psycholinguistics
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Phonological Development in Infancy and early childhood
  • Language Acquisition

Selected Publications

  • 1.Guevara-Rukoz, A., Cristia, A., Ludusan, B., Thiollière, R., Martin, A., Mazuka, R., and Dupoux, E.:
    “Are words easier to learn from Infant- Than Adult-Directed Speech? A quantitative corpus-based investigation.”
    Cognitive Science, 42(5), pp.1586-1617. (2018)
  • 2.Ota, M., Yamane, N., and Mazuka, R.:
    “The Effects of lexical pitch accent on infant word recognition in Japanese.”
    Frontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences, 8, pp.2354. (2018)
  • 3.Akimoto, Y., Takahashi, H., Gunji, A., Kaneko, Y., Asano, M., Matsuo, J., Ota, M., Kunugi, H., Hanakawa, T., Mazuka, R., and Kamio, Y.:
    “Alpha band event-related desynchronization underlying social situational context processing during irony comprehension: a magnetoencephalography source localization study.”
    Brain and Language, 175, pp.42-46. (2017)
  • 4.Ludusan, B., Mazuka, R., Bernard, M., Cristia, A., and Dupoux, E.:
    “The role of prosody and speech register in word segmentation: A computational modelling perspective.”
    Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Short Papers), pp.178-183. (2017)
  • 5.Mazuka, R., Hayashi, A., and Kondo, T.:
    “Sounds of infant-directed vocabulary: Learned from infants’ speech or part of linguistic knowledge?”
    Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan, 21(1), pp.45-58 (2017)
  • 6.Miyazawa, K., Shinya, T., Martin, A., Kikuchi, H., and Mazuka, R.:
    “Vowels in Infant-directed speech: More breathy and more variable, but not clearer.”
    Cognition, 166, pp.84-93.(2017)
  • 7.Hirose, Y, and Mazuka, R.:
    “Exploiting pitch accent information in compound processing: A comparison between adults and 6- to 7-year-old children.”
    Language Learning and Development, 13(4), pp.375-394. (2017)
  • 8.Sugiura, L., Toyota, T., Matsuba-Kurita, H., Iwayama, Y., Mazuka, R., Yoshikawa, T., and Hagiwara, H.:
    “Age-dependent effects of Catechol-O-Methyltransferase(COMT) Gene Val158Met Polymorphism on language function in developing children.”
    Cerebral Cortex, 27(1), pp.104-116. (2017)
  • 9.Hayashi, A., and Mazuka, R.:
    “Emergence of Japanese Infants’ Prosodic Preferences in Infant-Directed Vocabulary.”
    Developmental Psychology, 53(1), pp.28-37. (2017)
  • 10.Martin, A., Igarashi, Y., Jincho, N., and Mazuka, R.:
    “Utterances in infant-directed speech are shorter, not slower.”
    Cognition, 156, pp.52-59. (2016)

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Reiko Mazuka
Laboratory Head

Core members

Miki Takahasi
Research Scientist
Rongna A
Research Scientist
Akiko Okuno
Research Scientist
Rachel Ka-Ying Tsui
Postdoctoral Researcher
Naoto Yamane
Research Specialist
Kyoji Iwamoto
Technical Staff I
Yuri Hatano
Technical Staff II
Tomoko Otsuka
Technical Staff II
Naoko Kijima
Technical Staff II

Contact Information

2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan
Email: reiko.mazuka [at] riken.jp