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On the Strategic Weighting of Spectral Information in Consonant Identification

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When identifying speech sounds, do listeners direct attention specifically to those frequency regions in which distinctive phonetic information is located? Scharf, Dai, and Miller (1988) concluded that they do, based on an experiment that involved listeners identifying the members of a pair of voiced stop consonants differing primarily in their third-formant transitions. Adding extra contrastive acoustic energy to the third-formant region of one of the consonants enhanced performance more than did adding energy to a region where the consonants were otherwise identical. The present experiments extended this paradigm to reveal evidence of an interaction between the frequency region in which extra distinctive energy was added and the class of consonant to which it was added. The results were more consistent with an account in terms of the effects of added energy on phonetic identity than one based on spectral selective attention.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1998


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