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January 2022

Point-light facial displays enhance comprehension of speech in noise

Author(s): Johnson, J. A., Saldana, H. M.

Journal/Book: J Speech Hear Res. 1996; 39: 10801 Rockville Pike Rd, Rockville, MD 20852-3279. Amer Speech-Lang-Hearing Assn. 1159-1170.

Abstract: Seeing a talker's face can improve the perception of speech in noise. There is little known about which characteristics of the face are useful for enhancing the degraded signal. In this study, a point-light technique was employed to help isolate the salient kinematic aspects of a visible articulating face. In this technique, fluorescent dots were arranged on the lips, teeth, tongue, cheeks, and jaw of an actor. The actor was videotaped speaking in the dark, so that when shown to observers, only the moving dots were seen. To test whether these reduced images could contribute to the perception of degraded speech, noise-embedded sentences were dubbed with the point-light images at various signal-to-noise ratios. It was found that these images could significantly improve comprehension for adults with normal hearing and that the images became more effective as participants gained experience with the stimuli. These results have implications for uncovering salient visual speech information as well as in the development of telecommunication systems for listeners who are hearing impaired.

Note: Article Rosenblum LD, Univ Calif Riverside, Dept Psychol, Riverside,CA 92521 USA

Keyword(s): speechreading; lipreading; point-lights; telecommunication; speech in noise; VISUAL-PERCEPTION; BIOLOGICAL MOTION; LIFTED WEIGHT; RECEPTION; PERFORMANCE; HEARING

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