Anne Cutler

Publications

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (2016). Bottoms up! How top-down pitfalls ensnare speech perception researchers too. Commentary on C. Firestone & B. Scholl: Cognition does not affect perception: Evaluating the evidence for 'top-down' effects. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, e236. doi:10.1017/S0140525X15002745.

    Abstract

    Not only can the pitfalls that Firestone & Scholl (F&S) identify be generalised across multiple studies within the field of visual perception, but also they have general application outside the field wherever perceptual and cognitive processing are compared. We call attention to the widespread susceptibility of research on the perception of speech to versions of the same pitfalls.
  • Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2016). Prediction, Bayesian inference and feedback in speech recognition. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(1), 4-18. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1081703.

    Abstract

    Speech perception involves prediction, but how is that prediction implemented? In cognitive models prediction has often been taken to imply that there is feedback of activation from lexical to pre-lexical processes as implemented in interactive-activation models (IAMs). We show that simple activation feedback does not actually improve speech recognition. However, other forms of feedback can be beneficial. In particular, feedback can enable the listener to adapt to changing input, and can potentially help the listener to recognise unusual input, or recognise speech in the presence of competing sounds. The common feature of these helpful forms of feedback is that they are all ways of optimising the performance of speech recognition using Bayesian inference. That is, listeners make predictions about speech because speech recognition is optimal in the sense captured in Bayesian models.
  • El Aissati, A., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2012). Finding words in a language that allows words without vowels. Cognition, 124, 79-84. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.03.006.

    Abstract

    Across many languages from unrelated families, spoken-word recognition is subject to a constraint whereby potential word candidates must contain a vowel. This constraint minimizes competition from embedded words (e.g., in English, disfavoring win in twin because t cannot be a word). However, the constraint would be counter-productive in certain languages that allow stand-alone vowelless open-class words. One such language is Berber (where t is indeed a word). Berber listeners here detected words affixed to nonsense contexts with or without vowels. Length effects seen in other languages replicated in Berber, but in contrast to prior findings, word detection was not hindered by vowelless contexts. When words can be vowelless, otherwise universal constraints disfavoring vowelless words do not feature in spoken-word recognition.

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  • Cutler, A., & Davis, C. (2012). An orthographic effect in phoneme processing, and its limitations. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 18. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00018.

    Abstract

    To examine whether lexically stored knowledge about spelling influences phoneme evaluation, we conducted three experiments with a low-level phonetic judgement task: phoneme goodness rating. In each experiment, listeners heard phonetic tokens varying along a continuum centred on /s/, occurring finally in isolated word or nonword tokens. An effect of spelling appeared in Experiment 1: Native English speakers’ goodness ratings for the best /s/ tokens were significantly higher in words spelled with S (e.g., bless) than in words spelled with C (e.g., voice). No such difference appeared when nonnative speakers rated the same materials in Experiment 2, indicating that the difference could not be due to acoustic characteristics of the S- versus C-words. In Experiment 3, nonwords with lexical neighbours consistently spelled with S (e.g., pless) versus with C (e.g., floice) failed to elicit orthographic neighbourhood effects; no significant difference appeared in native English speakers’ ratings for the S-consistent versus the C-consistent sets. Obligatory influence of lexical knowledge on phonemic processing would have predicted such neighbourhood effects; the findings are thus better accommodated by models in which phonemic decisions draw strategically upon lexical information.
  • Cutler, A. (2012). Native listening: The flexibility dimension. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 169-187.

    Abstract

    The way we listen to spoken language is tailored to the specific benefit of native-language speech input. Listening to speech in non-native languages can be significantly hindered by this native bias. Is it possible to determine the degree to which a listener is listening in a native-like manner? Promising indications of how this question may be tackled are provided by new research findings concerning the great flexibility that characterises listening to the L1, in online adjustment of phonetic category boundaries for adaptation across talkers, and in modulation of lexical dynamics for adjustment across listening conditions. This flexibility pays off in many dimensions, including listening in noise, adaptation across dialects, and identification of voices. These findings further illuminate the robustness and flexibility of native listening, and potentially point to ways in which we might begin to assess degrees of ‘native-likeness’ in this skill.
  • Cutler, A., Otake, T., & Bruggeman, L. (2012). Phonologically determined asymmetries in vocabulary structure across languages. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(2), EL155-EL160. doi:10.1121/1.4737596.

    Abstract

    Studies of spoken-word recognition have revealed that competition from embedded words differs in strength as a function of where in the carrier word the embedded word is found and have further shown embedding patterns to be skewed such that embeddings in initial position in carriers outnumber embeddings in final position. Lexico-statistical analyses show that this skew is highly attenuated in Japanese, a noninflectional language. Comparison of the extent of the asymmetry in the three Germanic languages English, Dutch, and German allows the source to be traced to a combination of suffixal morphology and vowel reduction in unstressed syllables.
  • Junge, C., Cutler, A., & Hagoort, P. (2012). Electrophysiological evidence of early word learning. Neuropsychologia, 50, 3702-3712. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.10.012.

    Abstract

    Around their first birthday infants begin to talk, yet they comprehend words long before. This study investigated the event-related potentials (ERP) responses of nine-month-olds on basic level picture-word pairings. After a familiarization phase of six picture-word pairings per semantic category, comprehension for novel exemplars was tested in a picture-word matching paradigm. ERPs time-locked to pictures elicited a modulation of the Negative Central (Nc) component, associated with visual attention and recognition. It was attenuated by category repetition as well as by the type-token ratio of picture context. ERPs time-locked to words in the training phase became more negative with repetition (N300-600), but there was no influence of picture type-token ratio, suggesting that infants have identified the concept of each picture before a word was presented. Results from the test phase provided clear support that infants integrated word meanings with (novel) picture context. Here, infants showed different ERP responses for words that did or did not align with the picture context: a phonological mismatch (N200) and a semantic mismatch (N400). Together, results were informative of visual categorization, word recognition and word-to-world-mappings, all three crucial processes for vocabulary construction.
  • Junge, C., Kooijman, V., Hagoort, P., & Cutler, A. (2012). Rapid recognition at 10 months as a predictor of language development. Developmental Science, 15, 463-473. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.1144.x.

    Abstract

    Infants’ ability to recognize words in continuous speech is vital for building a vocabulary.We here examined the amount and type of exposure needed for 10-month-olds to recognize words. Infants first heard a word, either embedded within an utterance or in isolation, then recognition was assessed by comparing event-related potentials to this word versus a word that they had not heard directly before. Although all 10-month-olds showed recognition responses to words first heard in isolation, not all infants showed such responses to words they had first heard within an utterance. Those that did succeed in the latter, harder, task, however, understood more words and utterances when re-tested at 12 months, and understood more words and produced more words at 24 months, compared with those who had shown no such recognition response at 10 months. The ability to rapidly recognize the words in continuous utterances is clearly linked to future language development.
  • McQueen, J. M., Tyler, M., & Cutler, A. (2012). Lexical retuning of children’s speech perception: Evidence for knowledge about words’ component sounds. Language Learning and Development, 8, 317-339. doi:10.1080/15475441.2011.641887.

    Abstract

    Children hear new words from many different talkers; to learn words most efficiently, they should be able to represent them independently of talker-specific pronunciation detail. However, do children know what the component sounds of words should be, and can they use that knowledge to deal with different talkers' phonetic realizations? Experiment 1 replicated prior studies on lexically guided retuning of speech perception in adults, with a picture-verification methodology suitable for children. One participant group heard an ambiguous fricative ([s/f]) replacing /f/ (e.g., in words like giraffe); another group heard [s/f] replacing /s/ (e.g., in platypus). The first group subsequently identified more tokens on a Simpie-[s/f]impie-Fimpie toy-name continuum as Fimpie. Experiments 2 and 3 found equivalent lexically guided retuning effects in 12- and 6-year-olds. Children aged 6 have all that is needed for adjusting to talker variation in speech: detailed and abstract phonological representations and the ability to apply them during spoken-word recognition.

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  • Tuinman, A., Mitterer, H., & Cutler, A. (2012). Resolving ambiguity in familiar and unfamiliar casual speech. Journal of Memory and Language, 66, 530-544. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2012.02.001.

    Abstract

    In British English, the phrase Canada aided can sound like Canada raided if the speaker links the two vowels at the word boundary with an intrusive /r/. There are subtle phonetic differences between an onset /r/ and an intrusive /r/, however. With cross-modal priming and eye-tracking, we examine how native British English listeners and non-native (Dutch) listeners deal with the lexical ambiguity arising from this language-specific connected speech process. Together the results indicate that the presence of /r/ initially activates competing words for both listener groups; however, the native listeners rapidly exploit the phonetic cues and achieve correct lexical selection. In contrast, these advanced L2 listeners to English failed to recover from the /r/-induced competition, and failed to match native performance in either task. The /r/-intrusion process, which adds a phoneme to speech input, thus causes greater difficulty for L2 listeners than connectedspeech processes which alter or delete phonemes.
  • Clifton, Jr., C., Cutler, A., McQueen, J. M., & Van Ooijen, B. (1999). The processing of inflected forms. [Commentary on H. Clahsen: Lexical entries and rules of language.]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 1018-1019.

    Abstract

    Clashen proposes two distinct processing routes, for regularly and irregularly inflected forms, respectively, and thus is apparently making a psychological claim. We argue his position, which embodies a strictly linguistic perspective, does not constitute a psychological processing model.
  • Cutler, A., & Otake, T. (1999). Pitch accent in spoken-word recognition in Japanese. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 105, 1877-1888.

    Abstract

    Three experiments addressed the question of whether pitch-accent information may be exploited in the process of recognizing spoken words in Tokyo Japanese. In a two-choice classification task, listeners judged from which of two words, differing in accentual structure, isolated syllables had been extracted ~e.g., ka from baka HL or gaka LH!; most judgments were correct, and listeners’ decisions were correlated with the fundamental frequency characteristics of the syllables. In a gating experiment, listeners heard initial fragments of words and guessed what the words were; their guesses overwhelmingly had the same initial accent structure as the gated word even when only the beginning CV of the stimulus ~e.g., na- from nagasa HLL or nagashi LHH! was presented. In addition, listeners were more confident in guesses with the same initial accent structure as the stimulus than in guesses with different accent. In a lexical decision experiment, responses to spoken words ~e.g., ame HL! were speeded by previous presentation of the same word ~e.g., ame HL! but not by previous presentation of a word differing only in accent ~e.g., ame LH!. Together these findings provide strong evidence that accentual information constrains the activation and selection of candidates for spoken-word recognition.
  • Cutler, A., & Norris, D. (1999). Sharpening Ockham’s razor (Commentary on W.J.M. Levelt, A. Roelofs & A.S. Meyer: A theory of lexical access in speech production). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 40-41.

    Abstract

    Language production and comprehension are intimately interrelated; and models of production and comprehension should, we argue, be constrained by common architectural guidelines. Levelt et al.'s target article adopts as guiding principle Ockham's razor: the best model of production is the simplest one. We recommend adoption of the same principle in comprehension, with consequent simplification of some well-known types of models.
  • McQueen, J. M., Norris, D., & Cutler, A. (1999). Lexical influence in phonetic decision-making: Evidence from subcategorical mismatches. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 25, 1363-1389. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.25.5.1363.

    Abstract

    In 5 experiments, listeners heard words and nonwords, some cross-spliced so that they contained acoustic-phonetic mismatches. Performance was worse on mismatching than on matching items. Words cross-spliced with words and words cross-spliced with nonwords produced parallel results. However, in lexical decision and 1 of 3 phonetic decision experiments, performance on nonwords cross-spliced with words was poorer than on nonwords cross-spliced with nonwords. A gating study confirmed that there were misleading coarticulatory cues in the cross-spliced items; a sixth experiment showed that the earlier results were not due to interitem differences in the strength of these cues. Three models of phonetic decision making (the Race model, the TRACE model, and a postlexical model) did not explain the data. A new bottom-up model is outlined that accounts for the findings in terms of lexical involvement at a dedicated decision-making stage.
  • Otake, T., & Cutler, A. (1999). Perception of suprasegmental structure in a nonnative dialect. Journal of Phonetics, 27, 229-253. doi:10.1006/jpho.1999.0095.

    Abstract

    Two experiments examined the processing of Tokyo Japanese pitchaccent distinctions by native speakers of Japanese from two accentlessvariety areas. In both experiments, listeners were presented with Tokyo Japanese speech materials used in an earlier study with Tokyo Japanese listeners, who clearly exploited the pitch-accent information in spokenword recognition. In the "rst experiment, listeners judged from which of two words, di!ering in accentual structure, isolated syllables had been extracted. Both new groups were, overall, as successful at this task as Tokyo Japanese speakers had been, but their response patterns differed from those of the Tokyo Japanese, for instance in that a bias towards H judgments in the Tokyo Japanese responses was weakened in the present groups' responses. In a second experiment, listeners heard word fragments and guessed what the words were; in this task, the speakers from accentless areas again performed significantly above chance, but their responses showed less sensitivity to the information in the input, and greater bias towards vocabulary distribution frequencies, than had been observed with the Tokyo Japanese listeners. The results suggest that experience with a local accentless dialect affects the processing of accent for word recognition in Tokyo Japanese, even for listeners with extensive exposure to Tokyo Japanese.
  • Van Donselaar, W., Kuijpers, C. T., & Cutler, A. (1999). Facilitatory effects of vowel epenthesis on word processing in Dutch. Journal of Memory and Language, 41, 59-77. doi:10.1006/jmla.1999.2635.

    Abstract

    We report a series of experiments examining the effects on word processing of insertion of an optional epenthetic vowel in word-final consonant clusters in Dutch. Such epenthesis turns film, for instance, into film. In a word-reversal task listeners treated words with and without epenthesis alike, as monosyllables, suggesting that the variant forms both activate the same canonical representation, that of a monosyllabic word without epenthesis. In both lexical decision and word spotting, response times to recognize words were significantly faster when epenthesis was present than when the word was presented in its canonical form without epenthesis. It is argued that addition of the epenthetic vowel makes the liquid consonants constituting the first member of a cluster more perceptible; a final phoneme-detection experiment confirmed that this was the case. These findings show that a transformed variant of a word, although it contacts the lexicon via the representation of the canonical form, can be more easily perceptible than that canonical form.
  • Cutler, A., & Fay, D. (1975). You have a Dictionary in your Head, not a Thesaurus. Texas Linguistic Forum, 1, 27-40.

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