Generalization of Perceptual Learning of Degraded Speech Across Talkers Purpose We investigated whether perceptual learning of noise-vocoded (NV) speech is specific to a particular talker or accent. Method Four groups of listeners (n = 18 per group) were first trained by listening to 20 NV sentences that had been recorded by a talker with either the same ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   October 04, 2017
Generalization of Perceptual Learning of Degraded Speech Across Talkers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julia Jones Huyck
    Department of Psychology and Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Rachel H. Smith
    Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Sarah Hawkins
    Department of Linguistics and Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Ingrid S. Johnsrude
    Department of Psychology and Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 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 Julia Jones Huyck, who is now at the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Kent State University, OH: jhuyck@kent.edu
  • Rachel H. Smith is now at Glasgow University Laboratory of Phonetics, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.
    Rachel H. Smith is now at Glasgow University Laboratory of Phonetics, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.×
  • Ingrid S. Johnsrude is now at The Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.
    Ingrid S. Johnsrude is now at The Brain and Mind Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.×
  • Editor: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers
    Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   October 04, 2017
Generalization of Perceptual Learning of Degraded Speech Across Talkers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0300
History: Received July 22, 2016 , Revised March 29, 2017 , Accepted June 11, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-16-0300
History: Received July 22, 2016; Revised March 29, 2017; Accepted June 11, 2017

Purpose We investigated whether perceptual learning of noise-vocoded (NV) speech is specific to a particular talker or accent.

Method Four groups of listeners (n = 18 per group) were first trained by listening to 20 NV sentences that had been recorded by a talker with either the same native accent as the listeners or a different regional accent. They then heard 20 novel NV sentences from either the native- or nonnative-accented talker (test), in a 2 × 2 (Training Talker per Accent × Test Talker per Accent) design.

Results Word-report scores at test for participants trained and tested with the same (native- or nonnative-accented) talker did not differ from those for participants trained with 1 talker per accent and tested on another.

Conclusions Learning of NV speech generalized completely between talkers. Two additional experiments confirmed this result. Thus, when listeners are trained to understand NV speech, they are not learning talker- or accent-specific features but instead are learning how to use the information available in the degraded signal. The results suggest that people with cochlear implants, who experience spectrally degraded speech, may not be too disadvantaged if they learn to understand speech through their implant by listening primarily to just 1 other talker, such as a spouse.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council through a Discovery Grant and E.W.R. Steacie supplement to ISJ. JJH received support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and from the F.V. Hunt Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Acoustical Society of America. A. Chau, V. Cheung, A. Krishna, J. Riley, and T. Viaznikova helped with data collection and scoring. L. Bailey assisted with stimulus generation and programming.
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