Puzzle-solving science: the quixotic quest for units in speech perception

Author(s): Azuma, T. | Goldinger, S.D. |

Year: 2003

Citation: Journal of Phonetics. Volume 31, Issues 3-4, Temporal Integration in the Perception of Speech, 305-320

Abstract: Although speech signals are continuous and variable, listeners experience segmentation and linguistic structure in perception. For years, researchers have tried to identify the basic building-block of speech perception. In that time, experimental methods have evolved, constraints on stimulus materials have evolved, sources of variance have been identified, and computational models have been advanced. As a result, the slate of candidate units has increased, each with its own empirical support. In this article, we endorse Grossberg s adaptive resonance theory (ART), proposing that speech units are emergent properties of perceptual dynamics. By this view, units only ?exist? when disparate features achieve resonance, a level of perceptual coherence that allows conscious encoding. We outline basic principles of ART, then summarize five experiments. Three experiments assessed the power of social influence to affect phoneme-syllable competitions. Two other experiments assessed repetition effects in monitoring data. Together the data suggest that ?primary? speech units are strongly and symmetrically affected by bottom-up and top-down knowledge sources.

Topics: Speech and Hearing, Applications: Human-Machine Interface, Models: Modified ART,

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