A critical evaluation of visually moderated phonetic context effects

L L. Holt
J DW Stephens
A J. Lotto

Abstract or Description

Fowler, Brown, and Mann (2000) have reported a visually moderated phonetic context effect in which a video disambiguates an acoustically ambiguous precursor syllable, which, in turn, influences perception of a subsequent syllable. In the present experiments, we explored this finding and the claims that stem from it. Experiment 1 failed to replicate Fowler et al. with novel materials modeled after the original study, but Experiment 2 successfully replicated the effect, using Fowler et al.'s stimulus materials. This discrepancy was investigated in Experiments 3 and 4, which demonstrate that variation in visual information concurrent with the test syllable is sufficient to account for the original results. Fowler et al.'s visually moderated phonetic context effect appears to have been a demonstration of audiovisual interaction between concurrent stimuli, and not an effect whereby preceding visual information elicits changes in the perception of subsequent speech sounds.