Age-Related Differences in Speech Rate Perception Do Not Necessarily Entail Age-Related Differences in Speech Rate Use Purpose A new literature has suggested that speech rate can influence the parsing of words quite strongly in speech. The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between younger adults and older adults in the use of context speech rate in word segmentation, given that older adults perceive timing ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2015
Age-Related Differences in Speech Rate Perception Do Not Necessarily Entail Age-Related Differences in Speech Rate Use
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christopher C. Heffner
    University of Maryland, College Park
  • Rochelle S. Newman
    University of Maryland, College Park
  • Laura C. Dilley
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • William J. Idsardi
    University of Maryland, College Park
  • 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 Chris Heffner: heffner@umd.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers
    Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers×
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2015
Age-Related Differences in Speech Rate Perception Do Not Necessarily Entail Age-Related Differences in Speech Rate Use
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1341-1349. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0239
History: Received August 27, 2014 , Revised December 23, 2014 , Accepted April 1, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1341-1349. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0239
History: Received August 27, 2014; Revised December 23, 2014; Accepted April 1, 2015

Purpose A new literature has suggested that speech rate can influence the parsing of words quite strongly in speech. The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between younger adults and older adults in the use of context speech rate in word segmentation, given that older adults perceive timing information differently from younger ones.

Method Younger (18–25 years) and older (55–65 years) adults performed a sentence transcription task for sentences that varied in speech rate context (i.e., distal speech rate) and a syntactic cue to the presence of a word boundary.

Results There were no differences between younger and older adults in their use of the distal speech rate cue to word segmentation.

Conclusions The differences previously documented between younger and older adults in their perception of speech rate cues do not necessarily translate to older adults' use of those cues. Older adults' difficulties with compressed speech may arise from problems broader than just speech rate alone.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship award and a University of Maryland (UMD), College Park Graduate School Flagship Fellowship to Christoper Heffner. We thank Oyin Adedipe, Sarah Aylor, Rachel Childress, Katherine Gagan, Devin Heit, Jamie Jarmon, Jessica Nwaogbe, Mariah Pranger, Katerina Sanders, Rebecca Sherman, Emily Slonecker, Veronica Son, Becca Spencer, Sarah Thibeau, Julian Vesnovsky, and all the members of the UMD Language Development Lab for their help in running participants during this project; Scott Jackson for his invaluable statistics assistance; and Sandra Gordon-Salant for insightful discussion and comments. Some pilot data points for this experiment were collected at Michigan State University. Portions of this research were presented at the Fifth Aging and Speech Communication conference in Bloomington, Indiana, travel to which was supported by a grant from the ASC conference and the Maryland Language Science Center; and the 2014 Universitas 21 Graduate Research Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, travel to which was supported by the University of Maryland, College Park Graduate School.
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