Date of Original Version
Abstract or Table of Contents
The extent to which context influences speech categorization can inform theories of pre-lexical speech perception. Across three conditions, listeners categorized speech targets preceded by speech context syllables. These syllables were presented as the sole context or paired with nonspeech tone contexts previously shown to affect speech categorization. Listeners’ context-dependent categorization across these conditions provides evidence that speech and nonspeech context stimuli jointly influence speech processing. Specifically, when the spectral characteristics of speech and nonspeech context stimuli are mismatched such that they are expected to produce opposing effects on speech categorization the influence of nonspeech contexts may undermine, or even reverse, the expected effect of adjacent speech context. Likewise, when spectrally matched, the cross-class contexts may collaborate to increase effects of context. Similar effects are observed even when natural speech syllables, matched in source to the speech categorization targets, serve as the speech contexts. Results are well-predicted by spectral characteristics of the context stimuli.