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December 2022

Adaptation of speech by nonspeech: evidence for complex acoustic cue detectors

Author(s): Newport, E. L.

Journal/Book: J Exp Psychol [Hum Percept]. 1979; 5: 563-78.

Abstract: Three selective adaptation experiments were run, using nonspeech stimuli (music and noise) to adapt speech continua ([ba]-[wa] and [cha]- [sha]). The adaptors caused significant phoneme boundary shifts on the speech continua only when they matched in periodicity: Music stimuli adapted [ba]-[wa], whereas noise stimuli adapted [cha]-[sha]. However, such effects occurred even when the adaptors and test continua did not match in other simple acoustic cues (rise time or consonant duration). Spectral overlap of adaptors and test items was also found to be unnecessary for adaptation. The data support the existence of auditory processors sensitive to complex acoustic cues, as well as units that respond to more abstract properties. The latter are probably at a level previously thought to be phonetic. Asymmetrical adaptation was observed, arguing against an opponent-process arrangement of these units. A two-level acoustic model of the speech perception process is offered to account for the data.

Keyword(s): Cues. Discrimination Learning. Human. Phonetics. Psychoacoustics. Speech Perception. Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.. Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

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