Talker Identification Across Source Mechanisms: Experiments With Laryngeal and Electrolarynx Speech Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine listeners' ability to learn talker identity from speech produced with an electrolarynx, explore source and filter differentiation in talker identification, and describe acoustic-phonetic changes associated with electrolarynx use. Method Healthy adult control listeners learned to identify talkers from speech ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2014
Talker Identification Across Source Mechanisms: Experiments With Laryngeal and Electrolarynx Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tyler K. Perrachione
    Boston University, Boston, MA
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • Cara E. Stepp
    Boston University, Boston, MA
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
    Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
    Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Robert E. Hillman
    Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
    Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Patrick C. M. Wong
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Patrick C. M. Wong: p.wong@cuhk.edu.hk or Tyler K. Perrachione: tkp@bu.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Bruce Gerratt
    Associate Editor: Bruce Gerratt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2014
Talker Identification Across Source Mechanisms: Experiments With Laryngeal and Electrolarynx Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1651-1665. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0161
History: Received June 25, 2013 , Revised November 19, 2013 , Accepted March 12, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1651-1665. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0161
History: Received June 25, 2013; Revised November 19, 2013; Accepted March 12, 2014

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine listeners' ability to learn talker identity from speech produced with an electrolarynx, explore source and filter differentiation in talker identification, and describe acoustic-phonetic changes associated with electrolarynx use.

Method Healthy adult control listeners learned to identify talkers from speech recordings produced using talkers' normal laryngeal vocal source or an electrolarynx. Listeners' abilities to identify talkers from the trained vocal source (Experiment 1) and generalize this knowledge to the untrained source (Experiment 2) were assessed. Acoustic-phonetic measurements of spectral differences between source mechanisms were performed. Additional listeners attempted to match recordings from different source mechanisms to a single talker (Experiment 3).

Results Listeners successfully learned talker identity from electrolarynx speech but less accurately than from laryngeal speech. Listeners were unable to generalize talker identity to the untrained source mechanism. Electrolarynx use resulted in vowels with higher F1 frequencies compared with laryngeal speech. Listeners matched recordings from different sources to a single talker better than chance.

Conclusions Electrolarynx speech, although lacking individual differences in voice quality, nevertheless conveys sufficient indexical information related to the vocal filter and articulation for listeners to identify individual talkers. Psychologically, perception of talker identity arises from a “gestalt” of the vocal source and filter.

Acknowledgments
We thank James Heaton, Satrajit Ghosh, Yoomin Ahn, Louisa Ha, Allison Barr, Nicole Lomotan, Rachel Gould, and James Sugarman for their contributions. This work was supported by the Massachusetts General Hospital, through funding to Robert E. Hillman; National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants 5T32DC000038–17 and 5T32HD007424 to Cara E. Stepp; and National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants BCS-0719666 and BCS-1125144 and NIH Grants R01DC008333 and K02AG035382 to Patrick C. M. Wong. Tyler K. Perrachione was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
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