Effect of Vowel Identity and Onset Asynchrony on Concurrent Vowel Identification Purpose The purpose of the current study was to determine the effects of vowel identity and temporal onset asynchrony on identification of vowels overlapped in time. Method Fourteen listeners with normal hearing, with a mean age of 24 years, participated. The listeners were asked to identify both of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2009
Effect of Vowel Identity and Onset Asynchrony on Concurrent Vowel Identification
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark S. Hedrick
    The University of Tennessee
  • Steven G. Madix
    Louisiana Tech University
  • Contact author: Mark S. Hedrick, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, 578 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996-0740. E-mail: mhedric1@utk.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2009
Effect of Vowel Identity and Onset Asynchrony on Concurrent Vowel Identification
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2009, Vol. 52, 696-705. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0094)
History: Received May 2, 2007 , Revised January 23, 2008 , Accepted October 5, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2009, Vol. 52, 696-705. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0094)
History: Received May 2, 2007; Revised January 23, 2008; Accepted October 5, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 11

Purpose The purpose of the current study was to determine the effects of vowel identity and temporal onset asynchrony on identification of vowels overlapped in time.

Method Fourteen listeners with normal hearing, with a mean age of 24 years, participated. The listeners were asked to identify both of a pair of 200-ms vowels (referred to as double vowels) presented either simultaneously or with a temporal asynchrony ranging from 25 ms to 150 ms in 25-ms steps. The stimuli were synthetic steady-state vowels /i æ ɑ u ɝ/ arranged in seven combinations: /u i/, /æ ɑ/, /ɝ ɑ/, /ɝ æ/, /æ i/, /ɝ i/, and /ɝ u/.

Results Listeners' responses revealed that one vowel of a pair was identified correctly more often than the other vowel (known as vowel dominance). Vowel dominance effects were seen for 6 of the 7 vowel pairs, and there was improvement of vowel identification with increasing temporal separation between vowels for 5 of the 7 pairs. Vowel pairs with the vowel /ɝ/ consistently yielded improved identification with increases in temporal asynchrony.

Discussion Peripheral masking cannot explain the patterns of results of this study. A more parsimonious explanation may be perceptual anchoring.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Organization for Hearing Research with Stephen Handel. We thank Stephen Handel, and we thank Steve Doettl for his assistance in data collection.
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