Words Get in the Way: Linguistic Effects on Talker Discrimination

Cognitive Science 41 (5):1361-1376 (2017)

Abstract
A speech perception experiment provides evidence that the linguistic relationship between words affects the discrimination of their talkers. Listeners discriminated two talkers' voices with various linguistic relationships between their spoken words. Listeners were asked whether two words were spoken by the same person or not. Word pairs varied with respect to the linguistic relationship between the component words, forming either: phonological rhymes, lexical compounds, reversed compounds, or unrelated pairs. The degree of linguistic relationship between the words affected talker discrimination in a graded fashion, revealing biases listeners have regarding the nature of words and the talkers that speak them. These results indicate that listeners expect a talker's words to be linguistically related, and more generally, indexical processing is affected by linguistic information in a top-down fashion even when listeners are not told to attend to it.
Keywords Top‐down effects  Indexical processing  Talker discrimination  Mental lexicon  Speech perception
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12396
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