Audiovisual Perception of Congruent and Incongruent Dutch Front Vowels PurposeAuditory perception of vowels in background noise is enhanced when combined with visually perceived speech features. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the influence of visual cues on vowel perception extends to incongruent vowels, in a manner similar to the McGurk effect observed with consonants.MethodIdentification of Dutch ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2012
Audiovisual Perception of Congruent and Incongruent Dutch Front Vowels
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jurriaan Y. Duyne
    University Medical Center Groningen
  • Tjeerd C. Andringa
    University of Groningen, the Netherlands
  • Deniz Başkent
    University of Groningen, the Netherlands
  • Correspondence to Bea Valkenier: B.Valkenier@ai.rug.nl
  • Editor: Sid Bacon
    Editor: Sid Bacon×
  • Associate Editor: Charissa Lansing
    Associate Editor: Charissa Lansing×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   December 01, 2012
Audiovisual Perception of Congruent and Incongruent Dutch Front Vowels
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1788-1801. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0227)
History: Received August 15, 2011 , Revised February 3, 2012 , Accepted April 26, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1788-1801. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0227)
History: Received August 15, 2011; Revised February 3, 2012; Accepted April 26, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeAuditory perception of vowels in background noise is enhanced when combined with visually perceived speech features. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the influence of visual cues on vowel perception extends to incongruent vowels, in a manner similar to the McGurk effect observed with consonants.

MethodIdentification of Dutch front vowels /i, y, e, Y/ that share all features other than height and lip-rounding was measured for congruent and incongruent audiovisual conditions. The audio channel was systematically degraded by adding noise, increasing the reliance on visual cues.

ResultsThe height feature was more robustly carried over through the auditory channel and the lip-rounding feature through the visual channel. Hence, congruent audiovisual presentation enhanced identification, while incongruent presentation led to perceptual fusions and thus decreased identification.

ConclusionsVisual cues influence the identification of congruent as well as incongruent audiovisual vowels. Incongruent visual information results in perceptual fusions, demonstrating that the McGurk effect can be instigated by long phonemes such as vowels. This result extends to the incongruent presentation of the visually less reliably perceived height. The findings stress the importance of audiovisual congruency in communication devices, such as cochlear implants and videoconferencing tools, where the auditory signal could be degraded.

Acknowledgments
The first author was supported by Stichting Technologische Wetenschappen (STW) Grant DTF 7459 and is supported by Samenwerkingsverband Noord Nederland (SNN) Grant 221. The fourth author is supported by a Rosalind Franklin Fellowship from the University of Groningen and by VIDI Grant 016.096.397 from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw).
This work was based on the second author’s minor thesis, which was completed at the Research School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. We thank Maeike Kiers for helping us to record the speech material and Dörte Hessler for her advice regarding the stimuli creation. Also, we thank Rob van Son for his insightful comments on the statistical analysis.
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