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May 2022

The missing fundamental in vowel height perception

Author(s): Diehl, R. L.

Journal/Book: Percept Psychophys. 1996; 58: 1710 Fortview Rd, Austin, TX 78704. Psychonomic Soc Inc. 725-733.

Abstract: Traunmuller (1981) suggested that the tonotopic distance between the first formant (F-1) and the fundamental frequency (F-0) is a major determinant of perceived vowel height. In the present study, subjects identified a vowel-height continuum ranging in formant pattern from /I/ to /epsilon/, at five F-0 values. Increasing F-0 led to an increased probability of /I/ responses (i.e., the phoneme boundary shifted toward the /epsilon/ end of the continuum). Various conditions of filtering out the lower harmonics of the stimuli caused only marginal shifts of the phoneme boundary. The experiments provide evidence against interpretations of Traunmuller's (1981) results that claim that vowel height is determined by the distance between F-1 and the lowest harmonic that is present in the basilar membrane excitation pattern.

Note: Article RL Diehl, Univ Texas, Dept Psychol, 330 Mezes, Austin, TX 78712 USA


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