Cognitive Maturation and the Use of Pitch and Rate Information in Making Similarity Judgments of a Single Talker Purpose This study examined age-related differences in speaker similarity judgments, in which acoustic cues known to be important in speaker and speech recognition and identification were varied. Method Four groups of listeners of 5- to 6-, 8- to 9-, 10- to 11-, and 25- to 30-year-olds were asked ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2008
Cognitive Maturation and the Use of Pitch and Rate Information in Making Similarity Judgments of a Single Talker
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Karin Petrini
    University of Padova, Italy
  • Sara Tagliapietra
    University of Padova, Italy
  • Contact author: Karin Petrini, who is now at the Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow, 58 Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QB, United Kingdom. E-mail: karin@psy.gla.ac.uk.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2008
Cognitive Maturation and the Use of Pitch and Rate Information in Making Similarity Judgments of a Single Talker
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2008, Vol. 51, 485-501. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/035)
History: Received May 30, 2006 , Revised December 18, 2006 , Accepted August 2, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2008, Vol. 51, 485-501. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/035)
History: Received May 30, 2006; Revised December 18, 2006; Accepted August 2, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose This study examined age-related differences in speaker similarity judgments, in which acoustic cues known to be important in speaker and speech recognition and identification were varied.

Method Four groups of listeners of 5- to 6-, 8- to 9-, 10- to 11-, and 25- to 30-year-olds were asked to judge the similarity between an original talker’s speech sample and 9 versions of a second speech sample from the same talker, obtained by manipulating the pitch and speech rate.

Results Results showed that although pitch was used by all age groups as information to judge the similarity between the single talker speech samples, there was a significant age-related increase in the weight of speech rate attributed to similarity judgments. Furthermore, an age-related effect in accuracy was found, as was an effect of pitch level for the younger group.

Conclusion The use of relevant acoustic features to discriminate a speaker changes with age, probably arising from a shift in cue weighting strategy as described by the developmental weighting strategy hypothesis (S. Nittrouer, C. Manning, & G. Meyer, 1993). Future studies should clarify whether the present findings can be extended to any pair of acoustic cues and should involve longitudinal methods to precisely detect when the strategy shift occurs.

Acknowledgments
Part of this work was presented at Fechner Day 2004, the 20th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics, in Coimbra, Portugal. We are very much indebted to Cesare Cornoldi for his encouragement and help while we were conducting this research. We are grateful to the primary schools Vittorino Da Feltre (Adria, Rovigo) and Marino Marin (Bellombra, Rovigo) for their collaboration. We would like to thank Paola Bressan for her help in writing the article and Cosmo Triestino for his help in recording the voices. We want also to thank Rory DePaolis, Dan Halling, and Giovanni Bruno Vicario for their valuable comments on an earlier version of this article. We thank Niamh Rice and Lauren M. Potter for their help with the English revision of the article.
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