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Sven Mattys, May 17

Penetrability of the speech system by cognitive load

Sven Mattys
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol


Speech recognition is thought to result from both sub-lexical information (e.g., acoustic-phonetic, segmental) and knowledge-driven inferences (lexical, sentential). However, the effect of cognitive load (CL) on speech recognition has received little attention despite the prevalence of CL in everyday life, e.g., divided attention, short-term memory load. Here, we define CL as any load whose effect on speech recognition arises from competition for central processing resources due to a concurrent attentional or mnemonic task. Using a variety of behavioural methods, our research shows that: (1) listeners under CL downplay the contribution of acoustic detail to speech recognition and increase their reliance on lexical-semantic knowledge, (2) the locus of CL on the speech system is primarily sub-lexical, that is, CL impoverishes phonetic processing acuity, (3) greater reliance on lexical-semantic information is only a cascaded effect of impoverished phonetic processing, not a direct consequence of CL. Ways of integrating CL into the functional architecture of existing models of speech recognition are discussed.

Where and when:
15:45-17:00 May 17, 2011
MPI Nijmegen, Conference Room 163

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