Point-Light Facial Displays Enhance Comprehension of Speech in Noise Seeing a talker's face can improve the perception of speech in noise. There is little known about which characteristics of the face are useful for enhancing the degraded signal. In this study, a point-light technique was employed to help isolate the salient kinematic aspects of a visible articulating face. In ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1996
Point-Light Facial Displays Enhance Comprehension of Speech in Noise
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lawrence D. Rosenblum
    University of California, Riverside
  • Jennifer A. Johnson
    University of California, Riverside
  • Helena M. Saldaña
    House Ear Institute Los Angeles, CA
  • Contact author: Lawrence D. Rosenblum, Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521. Email: rosenblu@citrus.ucr.edu
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1996
Point-Light Facial Displays Enhance Comprehension of Speech in Noise
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1996, Vol. 39, 1159-1170. doi:10.1044/jshr.3906.1159
History: Received December 11, 1995 , Accepted August 20, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1996, Vol. 39, 1159-1170. doi:10.1044/jshr.3906.1159
History: Received December 11, 1995; Accepted August 20, 1996

Seeing a talker's face can improve the perception of speech in noise. There is little known about which characteristics of the face are useful for enhancing the degraded signal. In this study, a point-light technique was employed to help isolate the salient kinematic aspects of a visible articulating face. In this technique, fluorescent dots were arranged on the lips, teeth, tongue, cheeks, and jaw of an actor. The actor was videotaped speaking in the dark, so that when shown to observers, only the moving dots were seen. To test whether these reduced images could contribute to the perception of degraded speech, noise-embedded sentences were dubbed with the point-light images at various signal-to-noise ratios. It was found that these images could significantly improve comprehension for adults with normal hearing and that the images became more effective as participants gained experience with the stimuli. These results have implications for uncovering salient visual speech information as well as in the development of telecommunication systems for listeners who are hearing impaired.

Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Chantelle Bosely, Julie Garcia, Sunny Moore, Kristina R. Schillberg, Fran Tepper, Rebecca Vasquez.
This research was supported by NSF Grant DBS-9212225 awarded to Lawrence D. Rosenblum.
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