Phonetic category recalibration : What are the categories?

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Listeners use lexical or visual context information to recalibrate auditory speech perception. After hearing an ambiguous auditory stimulus between /aba/ and /ada/ coupled with a clear visual stimulus (e.g., lip closure in /aba/), an ambiguous auditory-only stimulus is perceived in line with the previously seen visual stimulus. What remains unclear, however, is what exactly listeners are recalibrating: phonemes, phone sequences, or acoustic cues. To address this question we tested generalization of visually-guided auditory recalibration to (1) the same phoneme contrast cued differently (i.e., /aba/-/ada/ vs. /ibi/-/idi/ where the main cues are formant transitions in the vowels vs. burst and frication of the obstruent), (2) a different phoneme contrast cued identically (/aba/-/ada/ vs. /ama/-/ana/ both cued by formant transitions in the vowels), and (3) the same phoneme contrast with the same cues in a different acoustic context (/aba/-/ada/ vs. /ubu/-/udu/). Whereas recalibration was robust for all recalibration control trials, no generalization was found in any of the experiments. This suggests that perceptual recalibration may be more specific than previously thought as it appears to be restricted to the phoneme category experienced during exposure as well as to the specific manipulated acoustic cues. We suggest that recalibration affects context-dependent sub-lexical units.




Published In

Journal of Phonetics, 45, 91-105.