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At which processing level does extrinsic speaker information influence vowel perception?

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons1646

Sjerps,  Matthias J.
Language Comprehension Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Mechanisms and Representations in Comprehending Speech, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons122

McQueen,  James M.
Language Comprehension Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons127

Mitterer,  Holger
Language Comprehension Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Sjerps, M. J., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2009). At which processing level does extrinsic speaker information influence vowel perception?. Poster presented at 158th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, San Antonio, Texas.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-6400-F
Abstract
The interpretation of vowel sounds depends on perceived characteristics of the speaker (e.g., average first formant (F1) frequency). A vowel between /I/ and /E/ is more likely to be perceived as /I/ if a precursor sentence indicates that the speaker has a relatively high average F1. Behavioral and electrophysiological experiments investigating the locus of this extrinsic vowel normalization are reported. The normalization effect with a categorization task was first replicated. More vowels on an /I/-/E/ continuum followed by a /papu/ context were categorized as /I/ with a high-F1 context than with a low-F1 context. Two experiments then examined this context effect in a 4I-oddity discrimination task. Ambiguous vowels were more difficult to distinguish from the /I/-endpoint if the context /papu/ had a high F1 than if it had a low F1 (and vice versa for discrimination of ambiguous vowels from the /E/-endpoint). Furthermore, between-category discriminations were no easier than within-category discriminations. Together, these results suggest that the normalization mechanism operates largely at an auditory processing level. The MisMatch Negativity (an automatically evoked brain potential) arising from the same stimuli is being measured, to investigate whether extrinsic normalization takes place in the absence of an explicit decision task.