James McQueen

Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 202
  • McQueen, J. M., & Dilley, L. C. (in press). Prosody and spoken-word recognition. In C. Gussenhoven, & A. Chen (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of language prosody. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Eisner, F. (2019). Consistency influences altered auditory feedback processing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(10), 2371-2379. doi:10.1177/1747021819838939.

    Abstract

    Previous research on the effect of perturbed auditory feedback in speech production has focused on two types of responses. In the short term, speakers generate compensatory motor commands in response to unexpected perturbations. In the longer term, speakers adapt feedforward motor programmes in response to feedback perturbations, to avoid future errors. The current study investigated the relation between these two types of responses to altered auditory feedback. Specifically, it was hypothesised that consistency in previous feedback perturbations would influence whether speakers adapt their feedforward motor programmes. In an altered auditory feedback paradigm, formant perturbations were applied either across all trials (the consistent condition) or only to some trials, whereas the others remained unperturbed (the inconsistent condition). The results showed that speakers’ responses were affected by feedback consistency, with stronger speech changes in the consistent condition compared with the inconsistent condition. Current models of speech-motor control can explain this consistency effect. However, the data also suggest that compensation and adaptation are distinct processes, which are not in line with all current models.
  • Goriot, C., Unsworth, S., Van Hout, R. W. N. M., Broersma, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2019). Differences in phonological awareness performance. Are there positive or negative effects of bilingual experience? Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. Advance online publication. doi:10.1075/lab.18082.gor.

    Abstract

    Children who have knowledge of two languages may show better phonological awareness than their monolingual peers (e.g. Bruck & Genesee, 1995). It remains unclear how much bilingual experience is needed for such advantages to appear, and whether differences in language or cognitive skills alter the relation between bilingualism and phonological awareness. These questions were investigated in this cross-sectional study. Participants (n = 294; 4–7 year-olds, in the first three grades of primary school) were Dutch-speaking pupils attending mainstream monolingual Dutch primary schools or early-English schools providing English lessons from grade 1, and simultaneous Dutch-English bilinguals. We investigated phonological awareness (rhyming, phoneme blending, onset phoneme identification, and phoneme deletion) and its relation to age, Dutch vocabulary, English vocabulary, working memory and short-term memory, and the balance between Dutch and English vocabulary. Small significant (α < .05) effects of bilingualism were found on onset phoneme identification and phoneme deletion, but post-hoc comparisons revealed no robust pairwise differences between the groups. Furthermore, effects of bilingualism sometimes disappeared when differences in language or memory skills were taken into account. Learning two languages simultaneously is not beneficial to – and importantly, also not detrimental to – phonological awareness.
  • Grey, S., Schubel, L. C., McQueen, J. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2019). Processing foreign-accented speech in a second language: Evidence from ERPs during sentence comprehension in bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 22(5), 912-929. doi:10.1017/S1366728918000937.

    Abstract

    This study examined electrophysiological correlates of sentence comprehension of native-accented and foreign-accented speech in a second language (L2), for sentences produced in a foreign accent different from that associated with the listeners’ L1. Bilingual speaker-listeners process different accents in their L2 conversations, but the effects on real-time L2 sentence comprehension are unknown. Dutch–English bilinguals listened to native American-English accented sentences and foreign (and for them unfamiliarly-accented) Chinese-English accented sentences while EEG was recorded. Behavioral sentence comprehension was highly accurate for both native-accented and foreign-accented sentences. ERPs showed different patterns for L2 grammar and semantic processing of native- and foreign-accented speech. For grammar, only native-accented speech elicited an Nref. For semantics, both native- and foreign-accented speech elicited an N400 effect, but with a delayed onset across both accent conditions. These findings suggest that the way listeners comprehend native- and foreign-accented sentences in their L2 depends on their familiarity with the accent.
  • Hintz*, F., Jongman*, S. R., Dijkhuis, M., Van 't Hoff, V., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Shared lexical access processes in speaking and listening? An individual differences study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xlm0000768.

    Abstract

    - * indicates joint first authorship - Lexical access is a core component of word processing. In order to produce or comprehend a word, language users must access word forms in their mental lexicon. However, despite its involvement in both tasks, previous research has often studied lexical access in either production or comprehension alone. Therefore, it is unknown to which extent lexical access processes are shared across both tasks. Picture naming and auditory lexical decision are considered good tools for studying lexical access. Both of them are speeded tasks. Given these commonalities, another open question concerns the involvement of general cognitive abilities (e.g., processing speed) in both linguistic tasks. In the present study, we addressed these questions. We tested a large group of young adults enrolled in academic and vocational courses. Participants completed picture naming and auditory lexical decision tasks as well as a battery of tests assessing non-verbal processing speed, vocabulary, and non-verbal intelligence. Our results suggest that the lexical access processes involved in picture naming and lexical decision are related but less closely than one might have thought. Moreover, reaction times in picture naming and lexical decision depended as least as much on general processing speed as on domain-specific linguistic processes (i.e., lexical access processes).
  • Janssen, C., Segers, E., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2019). Comparing effects of instruction on word meaning and word form on early literacy abilities in kindergarten. Early Education and Development, 30(3), 375-399. doi:10.1080/10409289.2018.1547563.

    Abstract

    Research Findings: The present study compared effects of explicit instruction on and practice with the phonological form of words (form-focused instruction) versus explicit instruction on and practice with the meaning of words (meaning-focused instruction). Instruction was given via interactive storybook reading in the kindergarten classroom of children learning Dutch. We asked whether the 2 types of instruction had different effects on vocabulary development and 2 precursors of reading ability—phonological awareness and letter knowledge—and we examined effects on these measures of the ability to learn new words with minimal acoustic-phonetic differences. Learners showed similar receptive target-word vocabulary gain after both types of instruction, but learners who received form-focused vocabulary instruction showed more gain in semantic knowledge of target vocabulary, phonological awareness, and letter knowledge than learners who received meaning-focused vocabulary instruction. Level of ability to learn pairs of words with minimal acoustic-phonetic differences predicted gain in semantic knowledge of target vocabulary and in letter knowledge in the form-focused instruction group only. Practice or Policy: A focus on the form of words during instruction appears to have benefits for young children learning vocabulary.
  • McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., Burgering, M. A., & Vroomen, J. (2019). Specialized memory systems for learning spoken words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xlm0000704.

    Abstract

    Learning new words entails, inter alia, encoding of novel sound patterns and transferring those patterns from short-term to long-term memory. We report a series of 5 experiments that investigated whether the memory systems engaged in word learning are specialized for speech and whether utilization of these systems results in a benefit for word learning. Sine-wave synthesis (SWS) was applied to spoken nonwords, and listeners were or were not informed (through instruction and familiarization) that the SWS stimuli were derived from actual utterances. This allowed us to manipulate whether listeners would process sound sequences as speech or as nonspeech. In a sound–picture association learning task, listeners who processed the SWS stimuli as speech consistently learned faster and remembered more associations than listeners who processed the same stimuli as nonspeech. The advantage of listening in “speech mode” was stable over the course of 7 days. These results provide causal evidence that access to a specialized, phonological short-term memory system is important for word learning. More generally, this study supports the notion that subsystems of auditory short-term memory are specialized for processing different types of acoustic information.

    Supplementary material

    Supplemental material
  • McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Key issues and future directions: Towards a comprehensive cognitive architecture for language use. In P. Hagoort (Ed.), Human language: From genes and brain to behavior (pp. 85-96). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Mickan, A., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Bridging the gap between second language acquisition research and memory science: The case of foreign language attrition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13: 397. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00397.

    Abstract

    The field of second language acquisition (SLA) is by nature of its subject a highly interdisciplinary area of research. Learning a (foreign) language, for example, involves encoding new words, consolidating and committing them to long-term memory, and later retrieving them. All of these processes have direct parallels in the domain of human memory and have been thoroughly studied by researchers in that field. Yet, despite these clear links, the two fields have largely developed in parallel and in isolation from one another. The present paper aims to promote more cross-talk between SLA and memory science. We focus on foreign language (FL) attrition as an example of a research topic in SLA where the parallels with memory science are especially apparent. We discuss evidence that suggests that competition between languages is one of the mechanisms of FL attrition, paralleling the interference process thought to underlie forgetting in other domains of human memory. Backed up by concrete suggestions, we advocate the use of paradigms from the memory literature to study these interference effects in the language domain. In doing so, we hope to facilitate future cross-talk between the two fields, and to further our understanding of FL attrition as a memory phenomenon.
  • Schuerman, W. L., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (2019). Speaker statistical averageness modulates word recognition in adverse listening conditions. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1203-1207). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    We tested whether statistical averageness (SA) at the level of the individual speaker could predict a speaker’s intelligibility. 28 female and 21 male speakers of Dutch were recorded producing 336 sentences, each containing two target nouns. Recordings were compared to those of all other same-sex speakers using dynamic time warping (DTW). For each sentence, the DTW distance constituted a metric of phonetic distance from one speaker to all other speakers. SA comprised the average of these distances. Later, the same participants performed a word recognition task on the target nouns in the same sentences, under three degraded listening conditions. In all three conditions, accuracy increased with SA. This held even when participants listened to their own utterances. These findings suggest that listeners process speech with respect to the statistical properties of the language spoken in their community, rather than using their own speech as a reference
  • Solberg Økland, H., Todorović, A., Lüttke, C. S., McQueen, J. M., & De Lange, F. P. (2019). Combined predictive effects of sentential and visual constraints in early audiovisual speech processing. Scientific Reports, 9: 7870. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44311-2.

    Abstract

    In language comprehension, a variety of contextual cues act in unison to render upcoming words more or less predictable. As a sentence unfolds, we use prior context (sentential constraints) to predict what the next words might be. Additionally, in a conversation, we can predict upcoming sounds through observing the mouth movements of a speaker (visual constraints). In electrophysiological studies, effects of visual constraints have typically been observed early in language processing, while effects of sentential constraints have typically been observed later. We hypothesized that the visual and the sentential constraints might feed into the same predictive process such that effects of sentential constraints might also be detectable early in language processing through modulations of the early effects of visual salience. We presented participants with audiovisual speech while recording their brain activity with magnetoencephalography. Participants saw videos of a person saying sentences where the last word was either sententially constrained or not, and began with a salient or non-salient mouth movement. We found that sentential constraints indeed exerted an early (N1) influence on language processing. Sentential modulations of the N1 visual predictability effect were visible in brain areas associated with semantic processing, and were differently expressed in the two hemispheres. In the left hemisphere, visual and sentential constraints jointly suppressed the auditory evoked field, while the right hemisphere was sensitive to visual constraints only in the absence of strong sentential constraints. These results suggest that sentential and visual constraints can jointly influence even very early stages of audiovisual speech comprehension.
  • Takashima, A., Bakker-Marshall, I., Van Hell, J. G., McQueen, J. M., & Janzen, G. (2019). Neural correlates of word learning in children. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 37: 100647. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100649.

    Abstract

    Memory representations of words are thought to undergo changes with consolidation: Episodic memories of novel words are transformed into lexical representations that interact with other words in the mental dictionary. Behavioral studies have shown that this lexical integration process is enhanced when there is more time for consolidation. Neuroimaging studies have further revealed that novel word representations are initially represented in a hippocampally-centered system, whereas left posterior middle temporal cortex activation increases with lexicalization. In this study, we measured behavioral and brain responses to newly-learned words in children. Two groups of Dutch children, aged between 8-10 and 14-16 years, were trained on 30 novel Japanese words depicting novel concepts. Children were tested on word-forms, word-meanings, and the novel words’ influence on existing word processing immediately after training, and again after a week. In line with the adult findings, hippocampal involvement decreased with time. Lexical integration, however, was not observed immediately or after a week, neither behaviorally nor neurally. It appears that time alone is not always sufficient for lexical integration to occur. We suggest that other factors (e.g., the novelty of the concepts and familiarity with the language the words are derived from) might also influence the integration process.

    Supplementary material

    Supplementary data
  • Van Goch, M. M., Verhoeven, L., & McQueen, J. M. (2019). Success in learning similar-sounding words predicts vocabulary depth above and beyond vocabulary breadth. Journal of Child Language, 46(1), 184-197. doi:10.1017/S0305000918000338.

    Abstract

    In lexical development, the specificity of phonological representations is important. The ability to build phonologically specific lexical representations predicts the number of words a child knows (vocabulary breadth), but it is not clear if it also fosters how well words are known (vocabulary depth). Sixty-six children were studied in kindergarten (age 5;7) and first grade (age 6;8). The predictive value of the ability to learn phonologically similar new words, phoneme discrimination ability, and phonological awareness on vocabulary breadth and depth were assessed using hierarchical regression. Word learning explained unique variance in kindergarten and first-grade vocabulary depth, over the other phonological factors. It did not explain unique variance in vocabulary breadth. Furthermore, even after controlling for kindergarten vocabulary breadth, kindergarten word learning still explained unique variance in first-grade vocabulary depth. Skill in learning phonologically similar words appears to predict knowledge children have about what words mean.
  • Wagner, M. A., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., & Lemhöfer, K. (2019). Imitating speech in an unfamiliar language and an unfamiliar non-native accent in the native language. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 20195) (pp. 1362-1366). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

    Abstract

    This study concerns individual differences in speech imitation ability and the role that lexical representations play in imitation. We examined 1) whether imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar language (L0) is related to imitation of sounds in an unfamiliar non-native accent in the speaker’s native language (L1) and 2) whether it is easier or harder to imitate speech when you know the words to be imitated. Fifty-nine native Dutch speakers imitated words with target vowels in Basque (/a/ and /e/) and Greekaccented Dutch (/i/ and /u/). Spectral and durational analyses of the target vowels revealed no relationship between the success of L0 and L1 imitation and no difference in performance between tasks (i.e., L1 imitation was neither aided nor blocked by lexical knowledge about the correct pronunciation). The results suggest instead that the relationship of the vowels to native phonological categories plays a bigger role in imitation
  • Bakker-Marshall, I., Takashima, A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Theta-band Oscillations in the Middle Temporal Gyrus Reflect Novel Word Consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(5), 621-633. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01240.

    Abstract

    Like many other types of memory formation, novel word learning benefits from an offline consolidation period after the initial encoding phase. A previous EEG study has shown that retrieval of novel words elicited more word-like-induced electrophysiological brain activity in the theta band after consolidation [Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 1286–1297, 2015]. This suggests that theta-band oscillations play a role in lexicalization, but it has not been demonstrated that this effect is directly caused by the formation of lexical representations. This study used magnetoencephalography to localize the theta consolidation effect to the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), a region known to be involved in lexical storage. Both untrained novel words and words learned immediately before test elicited lower theta power during retrieval than existing words in this region. After a 24-hr consolidation period, the difference between novel and existing words decreased significantly, most strongly in the left pMTG. The magnitude of the decrease after consolidation correlated with an increase in behavioral competition effects between novel words and existing words with similar spelling, reflecting functional integration into the mental lexicon. These results thus provide new evidence that consolidation aids the development of lexical representations mediated by the left pMTG. Theta synchronization may enable lexical access by facilitating the simultaneous activation of distributed semantic, phonological, and orthographic representations that are bound together in the pMTG.
  • Eisner, F., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Speech perception. In S. Thompson-Schill (Ed.), Stevens’ handbook of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience (4th ed.). Volume 3: Language & thought (pp. 1-46). Hoboken: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781119170174.epcn301.

    Abstract

    This chapter reviews the computational processes that are responsible for recognizing word forms in the speech stream. We outline the different stages in a processing hierarchy from the extraction of general acoustic features, through speech‐specific prelexical processes, to the retrieval and selection of lexical representations. We argue that two recurring properties of the system as a whole are abstraction and adaptability. We also present evidence for parallel processing of information on different timescales, more specifically that segmental material in the speech stream (its consonants and vowels) is processed in parallel with suprasegmental material (the prosodic structures of spoken words). We consider evidence from both psycholinguistics and neurobiology wherever possible, and discuss how the two fields are beginning to address common computational problems. The challenge for future research in speech perception will be to build an account that links these computational problems, through functional mechanisms that address them, to neurobiological implementation.
  • Francisco, A. A., Takashima, A., McQueen, J. M., Van den Bunt, M., Jesse, A., & Groen, M. A. (2018). Adult dyslexic readers benefit less from visual input during audiovisual speech processing: fMRI evidence. Neuropsychologia, 117, 454-471. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.07.009.

    Abstract

    The aim of the present fMRI study was to investigate whether typical and dyslexic adult readers differed in the neural correlates of audiovisual speech processing. We tested for Blood Oxygen-Level Dependent (BOLD) activity differences between these two groups in a 1-back task, as they processed written (word, illegal consonant strings) and spoken (auditory, visual and audiovisual) stimuli. When processing written stimuli, dyslexic readers showed reduced activity in the supramarginal gyrus, a region suggested to play an important role in phonological processing, but only when they processed strings of consonants, not when they read words. During the speech perception tasks, dyslexic readers were only slower than typical readers in their behavioral responses in the visual speech condition. Additionally, dyslexic readers presented reduced neural activation in the auditory, the visual, and the audiovisual speech conditions. The groups also differed in terms of superadditivity, with dyslexic readers showing decreased neural activation in the regions of interest. An additional analysis focusing on vision-related processing during the audiovisual condition showed diminished activation for the dyslexic readers in a fusiform gyrus cluster. Our results thus suggest that there are differences in audiovisual speech processing between dyslexic and normal readers. These differences might be explained by difficulties in processing the unisensory components of audiovisual speech, more specifically, dyslexic readers may benefit less from visual information during audiovisual speech processing than typical readers. Given that visual speech processing supports the development of phonological skills fundamental in reading, differences in processing of visual speech could contribute to differences in reading ability between typical and dyslexic readers.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Eisner, F. (2018). Opposing and following responses in sensorimotor speech control: Why responses go both ways. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25(4), 1458-1467. doi:10.3758/s13423-018-1494-x.

    Abstract

    When talking, speakers continuously monitor and use the auditory feedback of their own voice to control and inform speech production processes. When speakers are provided with auditory feedback that is perturbed in real time, most of them compensate for this by opposing the feedback perturbation. But some speakers follow the perturbation. In the current study, we investigated whether the state of the speech production system at perturbation onset may determine what type of response (opposing or following) is given. The results suggest that whether a perturbation-related response is opposing or following depends on ongoing fluctuations of the production system: It initially responds by doing the opposite of what it was doing. This effect and the non-trivial proportion of following responses suggest that current production models are inadequate: They need to account for why responses to unexpected sensory feedback depend on the production-system’s state at the time of perturbation.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Schoffelen, J.-M. (2018). Self-monitoring in the cerebral cortex: Neural responses to pitch-perturbed auditory feedback during speech production. NeuroImage, 179, 326-336. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.06.061.

    Abstract

    Speaking is a complex motor skill which requires near instantaneous integration of sensory and motor-related information. Current theory hypothesizes a complex interplay between motor and auditory processes during speech production, involving the online comparison of the speech output with an internally generated forward model. To examine the neural correlates of this intricate interplay between sensory and motor processes, the current study uses altered auditory feedback (AAF) in combination with magnetoencephalography (MEG). Participants vocalized the vowel/e/and heard auditory feedback that was temporarily pitch-shifted by only 25 cents, while neural activity was recorded with MEG. As a control condition, participants also heard the recordings of the same auditory feedback that they heard in the first half of the experiment, now without vocalizing. The participants were not aware of any perturbation of the auditory feedback. We found auditory cortical areas responded more strongly to the pitch shifts during vocalization. In addition, auditory feedback perturbation resulted in spectral power increases in the θ and lower β bands, predominantly in sensorimotor areas. These results are in line with current models of speech production, suggesting auditory cortical areas are involved in an active comparison between a forward model's prediction and the actual sensory input. Subsequently, these areas interact with motor areas to generate a motor response. Furthermore, the results suggest that θ and β power increases support auditory-motor interaction, motor error detection and/or sensory prediction processing.
  • Goriot, C., Broersma, M., McQueen, J. M., Unsworth, S., & Van Hout, R. (2018). Language balance and switching ability in children acquiring English as a second language. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173, 168-186. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2018.03.019.

    Abstract

    This study investigated whether relative lexical proficiency in Dutch and English in child second language (L2) learners is related to executive functioning. Participants were Dutch primary school pupils of three different age groups (4–5, 8–9, and 11–12 years) who either were enrolled in an early-English schooling program or were age-matched controls not on that early-English program. Participants performed tasks that measured switching, inhibition, and working memory. Early-English program pupils had greater knowledge of English vocabulary and more balanced Dutch–English lexicons. In both groups, lexical balance, a ratio measure obtained by dividing vocabulary scores in English by those in Dutch, was related to switching but not to inhibition or working memory performance. These results show that for children who are learning an L2 in an instructional setting, and for whom managing two languages is not yet an automatized process, language balance may be more important than L2 proficiency in influencing the relation between childhood bilingualism and switching abilities.
  • Goriot, C., Van Hout, R., Broersma, M., Lobo, V., McQueen, J. M., & Unsworth, S. (2018). Using the peabody picture vocabulary test in L2 children and adolescents: Effects of L1. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/13670050.2018.1494131.

    Abstract

    This study investigated to what extent the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-4) is a reliable tool for measuring vocabulary knowledge of English as a second language (L2), and to what extent L1 characteristics affect test outcomes. The PPVT-4 was administered to Dutch pupils in six different age groups (4-15 years old) who were or were not following an English educational programme at school. Our first finding was that the PPVT-4 was not a reliable measure for pupils who were correct on maximally 24 items, but it was reliable for pupils who performed better. Second, both primary-school and secondary-school pupils performed better on items for which the phonological similarity between the English word and its Dutch translation was higher. Third, young unexperienced L2 learners’ scores were predicted by Dutch lexical frequency, while older more experienced pupils’ scores were predicted by English frequency. These findings indicate that the PPVT may be inappropriate for use with L2 learners with limited L2 proficiency. Furthermore, comparisons of PPVT scores across learners with different L1s are confounded by effects of L1 frequency and L1-L2 similarity. The PPVT-4 is however a suitable measure to compare more proficient L2 learners who have the same L1.
  • Mitterer, H., Reinisch, E., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Allophones, not phonemes in spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 98, 77-92. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2017.09.005.

    Abstract

    What are the phonological representations that listeners use to map information about the segmental content of speech onto the mental lexicon during spoken-word recognition? Recent evidence from perceptual-learning paradigms seems to support (context-dependent) allophones as the basic representational units in spoken-word recognition. But recent evidence from a selective-adaptation paradigm seems to suggest that context-independent phonemes also play a role. We present three experiments using selective adaptation that constitute strong tests of these representational hypotheses. In Experiment 1, we tested generalization of selective adaptation using different allophones of Dutch /r/ and /l/ – a case where generalization has not been found with perceptual learning. In Experiments 2 and 3, we tested generalization of selective adaptation using German back fricatives in which allophonic and phonemic identity were varied orthogonally. In all three experiments, selective adaptation was observed only if adaptors and test stimuli shared allophones. Phonemic identity, in contrast, was neither necessary nor sufficient for generalization of selective adaptation to occur. These findings and other recent data using the perceptual-learning paradigm suggest that pre-lexical processing during spoken-word recognition is based on allophones, and not on context-independent phonemes
  • Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2018). Commentary on “Interaction in spoken word recognition models". Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 1568. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01568.
  • Thorin, J., Sadakata, M., Desain, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Perception and production in interaction during non-native speech category learning. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(1), 92-103. doi:10.1121/1.5044415.

    Abstract

    Establishing non-native phoneme categories can be a notoriously difficult endeavour—in both speech perception and speech production. This study asks how these two domains interact in the course of this learning process. It investigates the effect of perceptual learning and related production practice of a challenging non-native category on the perception and/or production of that category. A four-day perceptual training protocol on the British English /æ/-/ɛ/ vowel contrast was combined with either related or unrelated production practice. After feedback on perceptual categorisation of the contrast, native Dutch participants in the related production group (N = 19) pronounced the trial's correct answer, while participants in the unrelated production group (N = 19) pronounced similar but phonologically unrelated words. Comparison of pre- and post-tests showed significant improvement over the course of training in both perception and production, but no differences between the groups were found. The lack of an effect of production practice is discussed in the light of previous, competing results and models of second-language speech perception and production. This study confirms that, even in the context of related production practice, perceptual training boosts production learning.
  • Viebahn, M., McQueen, J. M., Ernestus, M., Frauenfelder, U. H., & Bürki, A. (2018). How much does orthography influence the processing of reduced word forms? Evidence from novel-word learning about French schwa deletion. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(11), 2378-2394. doi:10.1177/1747021817741859.

    Abstract

    This study examines the influence of orthography on the processing of reduced word forms. For this purpose, we compared the impact of phonological variation with the impact of spelling-sound consistency on the processing of words that may be produced with or without the vowel schwa. Participants learnt novel French words in which the vowel schwa was present or absent in the first syllable. In Experiment 1, the words were consistently produced without schwa or produced in a variable manner (i.e., sometimes produced with and sometimes produced without schwa). In Experiment 2, words were always produced in a consistent manner, but an orthographic exposure phase was included in which words that were produced without schwa were either spelled with or without the letter . Results from naming and eye-tracking tasks suggest that both phonological variation and spelling-sound consistency influence the processing of spoken novel words. However, the influence of phonological variation outweighs the effect of spelling-sound consistency. Our findings therefore suggest that the influence of orthography on the processing of reduced word forms is relatively small.
  • Dai, B., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Kösem, A. (2017). Pure linguistic interference during comprehension of competing speech signals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141, EL249-EL254. doi:10.1121/1.4977590.

    Abstract

    Speech-in-speech perception can be challenging because the processing of competing acoustic and linguistic information leads to informational masking. Here, a method is proposed to isolate the linguistic component of informational masking while keeping the distractor's acoustic information unchanged. Participants performed a dichotic listening cocktail-party task before and after training on 4-band noise-vocoded sentences that became intelligible through the training. Distracting noise-vocoded speech interfered more with target speech comprehension after training (i.e., when intelligible) than before training (i.e., when unintelligible) at −3 dB SNR. These findings confirm that linguistic and acoustic information have distinct masking effects during speech-in‐speech comprehension
  • Francisco, A. A., Jesse, A., Groen, M. A., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). A general audiovisual temporal processing deficit in adult readers with dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 144-158. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0375.

    Abstract

    Purpose: Because reading is an audiovisual process, reading impairment may reflect an audiovisual processing deficit. The aim of the present study was to test the existence and scope of such a deficit in adult readers with dyslexia. Method: We tested 39 typical readers and 51 adult readers with dyslexia on their sensitivity to the simultaneity of audiovisual speech and nonspeech stimuli, their time window of audiovisual integration for speech (using incongruent /aCa/ syllables), and their audiovisual perception of phonetic categories. Results: Adult readers with dyslexia showed less sensitivity to audiovisual simultaneity than typical readers for both speech and nonspeech events. We found no differences between readers with dyslexia and typical readers in the temporal window of integration for audiovisual speech or in the audiovisual perception of phonetic categories. Conclusions: The results suggest an audiovisual temporal deficit in dyslexia that is not specific to speech-related events. But the differences found for audiovisual temporal sensitivity did not translate into a deficit in audiovisual speech perception. Hence, there seems to be a hiatus between simultaneity judgment and perception, suggesting a multisensory system that uses different mechanisms across tasks. Alternatively, it is possible that the audiovisual deficit in dyslexia is only observable when explicit judgments about audiovisual simultaneity are required
  • Francisco, A. A., Groen, M. A., Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Beyond the usual cognitive suspects: The importance of speechreading and audiovisual temporal sensitivity in reading ability. Learning and Individual Differences, 54, 60-72. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2017.01.003.

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to clarify whether audiovisual processing accounted for variance in reading and reading-related abilities, beyond the effect of a set of measures typically associated with individual differences in both reading and audiovisual processing. Testing adults with and without a diagnosis of dyslexia, we showed that—across all participants, and after accounting for variance in cognitive abilities—audiovisual temporal sensitivity contributed uniquely to variance in reading errors. This is consistent with previous studies demonstrating an audiovisual deficit in dyslexia. Additionally, we showed that speechreading (identification of speech based on visual cues from the talking face alone) was a unique contributor to variance in phonological awareness in dyslexic readers only: those who scored higher on speechreading, scored lower on phonological awareness. This suggests a greater reliance on visual speech as a compensatory mechanism when processing auditory speech is problematic. A secondary aim of this study was to better understand the nature of dyslexia. The finding that a sub-group of dyslexic readers scored low on phonological awareness and high on speechreading is consistent with a hybrid perspective of dyslexia: There are multiple possible pathways to reading impairment, which may translate into multiple profiles of dyslexia.
  • Franken, M. K., Eisner, F., Schoffelen, J.-M., Acheson, D. J., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Audiovisual recalibration of vowel categories. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2017 (pp. 655-658). doi:10.21437/Interspeech.2017-122.

    Abstract

    One of the most daunting tasks of a listener is to map a continuous auditory stream onto known speech sound categories and lexical items. A major issue with this mapping problem is the variability in the acoustic realizations of sound categories, both within and across speakers. Past research has suggested listeners may use visual information (e.g., lipreading) to calibrate these speech categories to the current speaker. Previous studies have focused on audiovisual recalibration of consonant categories. The present study explores whether vowel categorization, which is known to show less sharply defined category boundaries, also benefit from visual cues. Participants were exposed to videos of a speaker pronouncing one out of two vowels, paired with audio that was ambiguous between the two vowels. After exposure, it was found that participants had recalibrated their vowel categories. In addition, individual variability in audiovisual recalibration is discussed. It is suggested that listeners’ category sharpness may be related to the weight they assign to visual information in audiovisual speech perception. Specifically, listeners with less sharp categories assign more weight to visual information during audiovisual speech recognition.
  • Franken, M. K., Acheson, D. J., McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., & Hagoort, P. (2017). Individual variability as a window on production-perception interactions in speech motor control. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142(4), 2007-2018. doi:10.1121/1.5006899.

    Abstract

    An important part of understanding speech motor control consists of capturing the interaction between speech production and speech perception. This study tests a prediction of theoretical frameworks that have tried to account for these interactions: if speech production targets are specified in auditory terms, individuals with better auditory acuity should have more precise speech targets, evidenced by decreased within-phoneme variability and increased between-phoneme distance. A study was carried out consisting of perception and production tasks in counterbalanced order. Auditory acuity was assessed using an adaptive speech discrimination task, while production variability was determined using a pseudo-word reading task. Analyses of the production data were carried out to quantify average within-phoneme variability as well as average between-phoneme contrasts. Results show that individuals not only vary in their production and perceptual abilities, but that better discriminators have more distinctive vowel production targets (that is, targets with less within-phoneme variability and greater between-phoneme distances), confirming the initial hypothesis. This association between speech production and perception did not depend on local phoneme density in vowel space. This study suggests that better auditory acuity leads to more precise speech production targets, which may be a consequence of auditory feedback affecting speech production over time.
  • Janssen, C., Segers, E., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2017). Transfer from implicit to explicit phonological abilities in first and second language learners. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20(4), 795-812. doi:10.1017/S1366728916000523.

    Abstract

    Children's abilities to process the phonological structure of words are important predictors of their literacy development. In the current study, we examined the interrelatedness between implicit (i.e., speech decoding) and explicit (i.e., phonological awareness) phonological abilities, and especially the role therein of lexical specificity (i.e., the ability to learn to recognize spoken words based on only minimal acoustic-phonetic differences). We tested 75 Dutch monolingual and 64 Turkish–Dutch bilingual kindergartners. SEM analyses showed that speech decoding predicted lexical specificity, which in turn predicted rhyme awareness in the first language learners but phoneme awareness in the second language learners. Moreover, in the latter group there was an impact of the second language: Dutch speech decoding and lexical specificity predicted Turkish phonological awareness, which in turn predicted Dutch phonological awareness. We conclude that language-specific phonological characteristics underlie different patterns of transfer from implicit to explicit phonological abilities in first and second language learners.
  • Schuerman, W. L., Meyer, A. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Mapping the speech code: Cortical responses linking the perception and production of vowels. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11: 161. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00161.

    Abstract

    The acoustic realization of speech is constrained by the physical mechanisms by which it is produced. Yet for speech perception, the degree to which listeners utilize experience derived from speech production has long been debated. In the present study, we examined how sensorimotor adaptation during production may affect perception, and how this relationship may be reflected in early vs. late electrophysiological responses. Participants first performed a baseline speech production task, followed by a vowel categorization task during which EEG responses were recorded. In a subsequent speech production task, half the participants received shifted auditory feedback, leading most to alter their articulations. This was followed by a second, post-training vowel categorization task. We compared changes in vowel production to both behavioral and electrophysiological changes in vowel perception. No differences in phonetic categorization were observed between groups receiving altered or unaltered feedback. However, exploratory analyses revealed correlations between vocal motor behavior and phonetic categorization. EEG analyses revealed correlations between vocal motor behavior and cortical responses in both early and late time windows. These results suggest that participants' recent production behavior influenced subsequent vowel perception. We suggest that the change in perception can be best characterized as a mapping of acoustics onto articulation
  • Schuerman, W. L., Nagarajan, S., McQueen, J. M., & Houde, J. (2017). Sensorimotor adaptation affects perceptual compensation for coarticulation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141(4), 2693-2704. doi:10.1121/1.4979791.

    Abstract

    A given speech sound will be realized differently depending on the context in which it is produced. Listeners have been found to compensate perceptually for these coarticulatory effects, yet it is unclear to what extent this effect depends on actual production experience. In this study, whether changes in motor-to-sound mappings induced by adaptation to altered auditory feedback can affect perceptual compensation for coarticulation is investigated. Specifically, whether altering how the vowel [i] is produced can affect the categorization of a stimulus continuum between an alveolar and a palatal fricative whose interpretation is dependent on vocalic context is tested. It was found that participants could be sorted into three groups based on whether they tended to oppose the direction of the shifted auditory feedback, to follow it, or a mixture of the two, and that these articulatory responses, not the shifted feedback the participants heard, correlated with changes in perception. These results indicate that sensorimotor adaptation to altered feedback can affect the perception of unaltered yet coarticulatorily-dependent speech sounds, suggesting a modulatory role of sensorimotor experience on speech perception
  • Takashima, A., Bakker, I., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Interaction between episodic and semantic memory networks in the acquisition and consolidation of novel spoken words. Brain and Language, 167, 44-60. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2016.05.009.

    Abstract

    When a novel word is learned, its memory representation is thought to undergo a process of consolidation and integration. In this study, we tested whether the neural representations of novel words change as a function of consolidation by observing brain activation patterns just after learning and again after a delay of one week. Words learned with meanings were remembered better than those learned without meanings. Both episodic (hippocampus-dependent) and semantic (dependent on distributed neocortical areas) memory systems were utilised during recognition of the novel words. The extent to which the two systems were involved changed as a function of time and the amount of associated information, with more involvement of both systems for the meaningful words than for the form-only words after the one-week delay. These results suggest that the reason the meaningful words were remembered better is that their retrieval can benefit more from these two complementary memory systems
  • Van Goch, M. M., Verhoeven, L., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Trainability in lexical specificity mediates between short-term memory and both vocabulary and rhyme awareness. Learning and Individual Differences, 57, 163-169. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2017.05.008.

    Abstract

    A major goal in the early years of elementary school is learning to read, a process in which children show substantial individual differences. To shed light on the underlying processes of early literacy, this study investigates the interrelations among four known precursors to literacy: phonological short-term memory, vocabulary size, rhyme awareness, and trainability in the phonological specificity of lexical representations, by means of structural equation modelling, in a group of 101 4-year-old children. Trainability in lexical specificity was assessed by teaching children pairs of new phonologically-similar words. Standardized tests of receptive vocabulary, short-term memory, and rhyme awareness were used. The best-fitting model showed that trainability in lexical specificity partially mediated between short-term memory and both vocabulary size and rhyme awareness. These results demonstrate that individual differences in the ability to learn phonologically-similar new words are related to individual differences in vocabulary size and rhyme awareness.
  • Viebahn, M., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Speaking style influences the brain’s electrophysiological response to grammatical errors in speech comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(7), 1132-1146. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01095.

    Abstract

    This electrophysiological study asked whether the brain processes grammatical gender violations in casual speech differently than in careful speech. Native speakers of Dutch were presented with utterances that contained adjective-noun pairs in which the adjective was either correctly inflected with a word-final schwa (e.g. een spannende roman “a suspenseful novel”) or incorrectly uninflected without that schwa (een spannend roman). Consistent with previous findings, the uninflected adjectives elicited an electrical brain response sensitive to syntactic violations when the talker was speaking in a careful manner. When the talker was speaking in a casual manner, this response was absent. A control condition showed electrophysiological responses for carefully as well as casually produced utterances with semantic anomalies, showing that listeners were able to understand the content of both types of utterance. The results suggest that listeners take information about the speaking style of a talker into account when processing the acoustic-phonetic information provided by the speech signal. Absent schwas in casual speech are effectively not grammatical gender violations. These changes in syntactic processing are evidence of contextually-driven neural flexibility.

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  • Asaridou, S. S., Takashima, A., Dediu, D., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2016). Repetition suppression in the left inferior frontal gyrus predicts tone learning performance. Cerebral Cortex, 26(6), 2728-2742. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhv126.

    Abstract

    Do individuals differ in how efficiently they process non-native sounds? To what extent do these differences relate to individual variability in sound-learning aptitude? We addressed these questions by assessing the sound-learning abilities of Dutch native speakers as they were trained on non-native tone contrasts. We used fMRI repetition suppression to the non-native tones to measure participants' neuronal processing efficiency before and after training. Although all participants improved in tone identification with training, there was large individual variability in learning performance. A repetition suppression effect to tone was found in the bilateral inferior frontal gyri (IFGs) before training. No whole-brain effect was found after training; a region-of-interest analysis, however, showed that, after training, repetition suppression to tone in the left IFG correlated positively with learning. That is, individuals who were better in learning the non-native tones showed larger repetition suppression in this area. Crucially, this was true even before training. These findings add to existing evidence that the left IFG plays an important role in sound learning and indicate that individual differences in learning aptitude stem from differences in the neuronal efficiency with which non-native sounds are processed.
  • McQueen, J. M., Eisner, F., & Norris, D. (2016). When brain regions talk to each other during speech processing, what are they talking about? Commentary on Gow and Olson (2015). Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(7), 860-863. doi:10.1080/23273798.2016.1154975.

    Abstract

    This commentary on Gow and Olson [2015. Sentential influences on acoustic-phonetic processing: A Granger causality analysis of multimodal imaging data. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1029498] questions in three ways their conclusion that speech perception is based on interactive processing. First, it is not clear that the data presented by Gow and Olson reflect normal speech recognition. Second, Gow and Olson's conclusion depends on still-debated assumptions about the functions performed by specific brain regions. Third, the results are compatible with feedforward models of speech perception and appear inconsistent with models in which there are online interactions about phonological content. We suggest that progress in the neuroscience of speech perception requires the generation of testable hypotheses about the function(s) performed by inter-regional connections
  • 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.
  • Asaridou, S. S., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Effects of early bilingual experience with a tone and a non-tone language on speech-music. PLoS One, 10(12): e0144225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144225.

    Abstract

    We investigated music and language processing in a group of early bilinguals who spoke a tone language and a non-tone language (Cantonese and Dutch). We assessed online speech-music processing interactions, that is, interactions that occur when speech and music are processed simultaneously in songs, with a speeded classification task. In this task, participants judged sung pseudowords either musically (based on the direction of the musical interval) or phonologically (based on the identity of the sung vowel). We also assessed longer-term effects of linguistic experience on musical ability, that is, the influence of extensive prior experience with language when processing music. These effects were assessed with a task in which participants had to learn to identify musical intervals and with four pitch-perception tasks. Our hypothesis was that due to their experience in two different languages using lexical versus intonational tone, the early Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals would outperform the Dutch control participants. In online processing, the Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals processed speech and music more holistically than controls. This effect seems to be driven by experience with a tone language, in which integration of segmental and pitch information is fundamental. Regarding longer-term effects of linguistic experience, we found no evidence for a bilingual advantage in either the music-interval learning task or the pitch-perception tasks. Together, these results suggest that being a Cantonese-Dutch bilingual does not have any measurable longer-term effects on pitch and music processing, but does have consequences for how speech and music are processed jointly.

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  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., Van Hall, J. G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 27(7), 1286-1297. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00801.

    Abstract

    The complementary learning systems account of word learning states that novel words, like other types of memories, undergo an offline consolidation process during which they are gradually integrated into the neocortical memory network. A fundamental change in the neural representation of a novel word should therefore occur in the hours after learning. The present EEG study tested this hypothesis by investigating whether novel words learned before a 24-hr consolidation period elicited more word-like oscillatory responses than novel words learned immediately before testing. In line with previous studies indicating that theta synchronization reflects lexical access, unfamiliar novel words elicited lower power in the theta band (4–8 Hz) than existing words. Recently learned words still showed a marginally lower theta increase than existing words, but theta responses to novel words that had been acquired 24 hr earlier were indistinguishable from responses to existing words. Consistent with evidence that beta desynchronization (16–21 Hz) is related to lexical-semantic processing, we found that both unfamiliar and recently learned novel words elicited less beta desynchronization than existing words. In contrast, no difference was found between novel words learned 24 hr earlier and existing words. These data therefore suggest that an offline consolidation period enables novel words to acquire lexically integrated, word-like neural representations.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Tracking lexical consolidation with ERPs: Lexical and semantic-priming effects on N400 and LPC responses to newly-learned words. Neuropsychologia, 79, 33-41. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.10.020.
  • Franken, M. K., McQueen, J. M., Hagoort, P., & Acheson, D. J. (2015). Assessing the link between speech perception and production through individual differences. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow: the University of Glasgow.

    Abstract

    This study aims to test a prediction of recent theoretical frameworks in speech motor control: if speech production targets are specified in auditory terms, people with better auditory acuity should have more precise speech targets. To investigate this, we had participants perform speech perception and production tasks in a counterbalanced order. To assess speech perception acuity, we used an adaptive speech discrimination task. To assess variability in speech production, participants performed a pseudo-word reading task; formant values were measured for each recording. We predicted that speech production variability to correlate inversely with discrimination performance. The results suggest that people do vary in their production and perceptual abilities, and that better discriminators have more distinctive vowel production targets, confirming our prediction. This study highlights the importance of individual differences in the study of speech motor control, and sheds light on speech production-perception interaction.
  • Janssen, C., Segers, E., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2015). Lexical specificity training effects in second language learners. Language Learning, 65(2), 358-389. doi:10.1111/lang.12102.

    Abstract

    Children who start formal education in a second language may experience slower vocabulary growth in that language and subsequently experience disadvantages in literacy acquisition. The current study asked whether lexical specificity training can stimulate bilingual children's phonological awareness, which is considered to be a precursor to literacy. Therefore, Dutch monolingual and Turkish-Dutch bilingual children were taught new Dutch words with only minimal acoustic-phonetic differences. As a result of this training, the monolingual and the bilingual children improved on phoneme blending, which can be seen as an early aspect of phonological awareness. During training, the bilingual children caught up with the monolingual children on words with phonological overlap between their first language Turkish and their second language Dutch. It is concluded that learning minimal pair words fosters phoneme awareness, in both first and second language preliterate children, and that for second language learners phonological overlap between the two languages positively affects training outcomes, likely due to linguistic transfer
  • Orfanidou, E., McQueen, J. M., Adam, R., & Morgan, G. (2015). Segmentation of British Sign Language (BSL): Mind the gap! Quarterly journal of experimental psychology, 68, 641-663. doi:10.1080/17470218.2014.945467.

    Abstract

    This study asks how users of British Sign Language (BSL) recognize individual signs in connected sign sequences. We examined whether this is achieved through modality-specific or modality-general segmentation procedures. A modality-specific feature of signed languages is that, during continuous signing, there are salient transitions between sign locations. We used the sign-spotting task to ask if and how BSL signers use these transitions in segmentation. A total of 96 real BSL signs were preceded by nonsense signs which were produced in either the target location or another location (with a small or large transition). Half of the transitions were within the same major body area (e.g., head) and half were across body areas (e.g., chest to hand). Deaf adult BSL users (a group of natives and early learners, and a group of late learners) spotted target signs best when there was a minimal transition and worst when there was a large transition. When location changes were present, both groups performed better when transitions were to a different body area than when they were within the same area. These findings suggest that transitions do not provide explicit sign-boundary cues in a modality-specific fashion. Instead, we argue that smaller transitions help recognition in a modality-general way by limiting lexical search to signs within location neighbourhoods, and that transitions across body areas also aid segmentation in a modality-general way, by providing a phonotactic cue to a sign boundary. We propose that sign segmentation is based on modality-general procedures which are core language-processing mechanisms
  • Schuerman, W. L., Meyer, A. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Do we perceive others better than ourselves? A perceptual benefit for noise-vocoded speech produced by an average speaker. PLoS One, 10(7): e0129731. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129731.

    Abstract

    In different tasks involving action perception, performance has been found to be facilitated when the presented stimuli were produced by the participants themselves rather than by another participant. These results suggest that the same mental representations are accessed during both production and perception. However, with regard to spoken word perception, evidence also suggests that listeners’ representations for speech reflect the input from their surrounding linguistic community rather than their own idiosyncratic productions. Furthermore, speech perception is heavily influenced by indexical cues that may lead listeners to frame their interpretations of incoming speech signals with regard to speaker identity. In order to determine whether word recognition evinces similar self-advantages as found in action perception, it was necessary to eliminate indexical cues from the speech signal. We therefore asked participants to identify noise-vocoded versions of Dutch words that were based on either their own recordings or those of a statistically average speaker. The majority of participants were more accurate for the average speaker than for themselves, even after taking into account differences in intelligibility. These results suggest that the speech representations accessed during perception of noise-vocoded speech are more reflective of the input of the speech community, and hence that speech perception is not necessarily based on representations of one’s own speech.
  • Viebahn, M., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Syntactic predictability in the recognition of carefully and casually produced speech. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(6), 1684-1702. doi:10.1037/a0039326.

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  • Witteman, M. J., Bardhan, N. P., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Automaticity and stability of adaptation to foreign-accented speech. Language and Speech, 52(2), 168-189. doi:10.1177/0023830914528102.

    Abstract

    In three cross-modal priming experiments we asked whether adaptation to a foreign-accented speaker is automatic, and whether adaptation can be seen after a long delay between initial exposure and test. Dutch listeners were exposed to a Hebrew-accented Dutch speaker with two types of Dutch words: those that contained [ɪ] (globally accented words), and those in which the Dutch [i] was shortened to [ɪ] (specific accent marker words). Experiment 1, which served as a baseline, showed that native Dutch participants showed facilitatory priming for globally accented, but not specific accent, words. In experiment 2, participants performed a 3.5-minute phoneme monitoring task, and were tested on their comprehension of the accented speaker 24 hours later using the same cross-modal priming task as in experiment 1. During the phoneme monitoring task, listeners were asked to detect a consonant that was not strongly accented. In experiment 3, the delay between exposure and test was extended to 1 week. Listeners in experiments 2 and 3 showed facilitatory priming for both globally accented and specific accent marker words. Together, these results show that adaptation to a foreign-accented speaker can be rapid and automatic, and can be observed after a prolonged delay in testing.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Competition from unseen or unheard novel words: Lexical consolidation across modalities. Journal of Memory and Language, 73, 116-139. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2014.03.002.

    Abstract

    In four experiments we investigated the formation of novel word memories across modalities, using competition between novel words and their existing phonological/orthographic neighbours as a test of lexical integration. Auditorily acquired novel words entered into competition both in the spoken modality (Experiment 1) and in the written modality (Experiment 4) after a consolidation period of 24 h. Words acquired from print, on the other hand, showed competition effects after 24 h in a visual word recognition task (Experiment 3) but required additional training and a consolidation period of a week before entering into spoken-word competition (Experiment 2). These cross-modal effects support the hypothesis that lexicalised rather than episodic representations underlie post-consolidation competition effects. We suggest that sublexical phoneme–grapheme conversion during novel word encoding and/or offline consolidation enables the formation of modality-specific lexemes in the untrained modality, which subsequently undergo the same cortical integration process as explicitly perceived word forms in the trained modality. Although conversion takes place in both directions, speech input showed an advantage over print both in terms of lexicalisation and explicit memory performance. In conclusion, the brain is able to integrate and consolidate internally generated lexical information as well as external perceptual input.
  • Cutler, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). How prosody is both mandatory and optional. In J. Caspers, Y. Chen, W. Heeren, J. Pacilly, N. O. Schiller, & E. Van Zanten (Eds.), Above and Beyond the Segments: Experimental linguistics and phonetics (pp. 71-82). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Speech signals originate as a sequence of linguistic units selected by speakers, but these units are necessarily realised in the suprasegmental dimensions of time, frequency and amplitude. For this reason prosodic structure has been viewed as a mandatory target of language processing by both speakers and listeners. In apparent contradiction, however, prosody has also been argued to be ancillary rather than core linguistic structure, making processing of prosodic structure essentially optional. In the present tribute to one of the luminaries of prosodic research for the past quarter century, we review evidence from studies of the processing of lexical stress and focal accent which reconciles these views and shows that both claims are, each in their own way, fully true.
  • Francisco, A. A., Jesse, A., Groen, M. a., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Audiovisual temporal sensitivity in typical and dyslexic adult readers. In Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2014) (pp. 2575-2579).

    Abstract

    Reading is an audiovisual process that requires the learning of systematic links between graphemes and phonemes. It is thus possible that reading impairments reflect an audiovisual processing deficit. In this study, we compared audiovisual processing in adults with developmental dyslexia and adults without reading difficulties. We focused on differences in cross-modal temporal sensitivity both for speech and for non-speech events. When compared to adults without reading difficulties, adults with developmental dyslexia presented a wider temporal window in which unsynchronized speech events were perceived as synchronized. No differences were found between groups for the non-speech events. These results suggests a deficit in dyslexia in the perception of cross-modal temporal synchrony for speech events.
  • Hoffmann, C. W. G., Sadakata, M., Chen, A., Desain, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Within-category variance and lexical tone discrimination in native and non-native speakers. In C. Gussenhoven, Y. Chen, & D. Dediu (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Language (pp. 45-49). Nijmegen: Radboud University Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    In this paper, we show how acoustic variance within lexical tones in disyllabic Mandarin Chinese pseudowords affects discrimination abilities in both native and non-native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Within-category acoustic variance did not hinder native speakers in discriminating between lexical tones, whereas it precludes Dutch native speakers from reaching native level performance. Furthermore, the influence of acoustic variance was not uniform but asymmetric, dependent on the presentation order of the lexical tones to be discriminated. An exploratory analysis using an active adaptive oddball paradigm was used to quantify the extent of the perceptual asymmetry. We discuss two possible mechanisms underlying this asymmetry and propose possible paradigms to investigate these mechanisms
  • Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Suprasegmental lexical stress cues in visual speech can guide spoken-word recognition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 793-808. doi:10.1080/17470218.2013.834371.

    Abstract

    Visual cues to the individual segments of speech and to sentence prosody guide speech recognition. The present study tested whether visual suprasegmental cues to the stress patterns of words can also constrain recognition. Dutch listeners use acoustic suprasegmental cues to lexical stress (changes in duration, amplitude, and pitch) in spoken-word recognition. We asked here whether they can also use visual suprasegmental cues. In two categorization experiments, Dutch participants saw a speaker say fragments of word pairs that were segmentally identical but differed in their stress realization (e.g., 'ca-vi from cavia "guinea pig" vs. 'ka-vi from kaviaar "caviar"). Participants were able to distinguish between these pairs from seeing a speaker alone. Only the presence of primary stress in the fragment, not its absence, was informative. Participants were able to distinguish visually primary from secondary stress on first syllables, but only when the fragment-bearing target word carried phrase-level emphasis. Furthermore, participants distinguished fragments with primary stress on their second syllable from those with secondary stress on their first syllable (e.g., pro-'jec from projector "projector" vs. 'pro-jec from projectiel "projectile"), independently of phrase-level emphasis. Seeing a speaker thus contributes to spoken-word recognition by providing suprasegmental information about the presence of primary lexical stress.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2014). Interference of spoken word recognition through phonological priming from visual objects and printed words. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 76, 190-200. doi:10.3758/s13414-013-0560-8.

    Abstract

    Three cross-modal priming experiments examined the influence of pre-exposure to pictures and printed words on the speed of spoken word recognition. Targets for auditory lexical decision were spoken Dutch words and nonwords, presented in isolation (Experiments 1 and 2) or after a short phrase (Experiment 3). Auditory stimuli were preceded by primes which were pictures (Experiments 1 and 3) or those pictures’ printed names (Experiment 2). Prime-target pairs were phonologically onsetrelated (e.g., pijl-pijn, arrow-pain), were from the same semantic category (e.g., pijlzwaard, arrow-sword), or were unrelated on both dimensions. Phonological interference and semantic facilitation were observed in all experiments. Priming magnitude was similar for pictures and printed words, and did not vary with picture viewing time or number of pictures in the display (either one or four). These effects arose even though participants were not explicitly instructed to name the pictures and where strategic naming would interfere with lexical decision-making. This suggests that, by default, processing of related pictures and printed words influences how quickly we recognize related spoken words.
  • Poellmann, K., Bosker, H. R., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2014). Perceptual adaptation to segmental and syllabic reductions in continuous spoken Dutch. Journal of Phonetics, 46, 101-127. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.06.004.

    Abstract

    This study investigates if and how listeners adapt to reductions in casual continuous speech. In a perceptual-learning variant of the visual-world paradigm, two groups of Dutch participants were exposed to either segmental (/b/ → [ʋ]) or syllabic (ver- → [fː]) reductions in spoken Dutch sentences. In the test phase, both groups heard both kinds of reductions, but now applied to different words. In one of two experiments, the segmental reduction exposure group was better than the syllabic reduction exposure group in recognizing new reduced /b/-words. In both experiments, the syllabic reduction group showed a greater target preference for new reduced ver-words. Learning about reductions was thus applied to previously unheard words. This lexical generalization suggests that mechanisms compensating for segmental and syllabic reductions take place at a prelexical level, and hence that lexical access involves an abstractionist mode of processing. Existing abstractionist models need to be revised, however, as they do not include representations of sequences of segments (corresponding e.g. to ver-) at the prelexical level.
  • Poellmann, K., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Use what you can: Storage, abstraction processes and perceptual adjustments help listeners recognize reduced forms. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 437. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00437.

    Abstract

    Three eye-tracking experiments tested whether native listeners recognized reduced Dutch words better after having heard the same reduced words, or different reduced words of the same reduction type and whether familiarization with one reduction type helps listeners to deal with another reduction type. In the exposure phase, a segmental reduction group was exposed to /b/-reductions (e.g., "minderij" instead of "binderij", 'book binder') and a syllabic reduction group was exposed to full-vowel deletions (e.g., "p'raat" instead of "paraat", 'ready'), while a control group did not hear any reductions. In the test phase, all three groups heard the same speaker producing reduced-/b/ and deleted-vowel words that were either repeated (Experiments 1 & 2) or new (Experiment 3), but that now appeared as targets in semantically neutral sentences. Word-specific learning effects were found for vowel-deletions but not for /b/-reductions. Generalization of learning to new words of the same reduction type occurred only if the exposure words showed a phonologically consistent reduction pattern (/b/-reductions). In contrast, generalization of learning to words of another reduction type occurred only if the exposure words showed a phonologically inconsistent reduction pattern (the vowel deletions; learning about them generalized to recognition of the /b/-reductions). In order to deal with reductions, listeners thus use various means. They store reduced variants (e.g., for the inconsistent vowel-deleted words) and they abstract over incoming information to build up and apply mapping rules (e.g., for the consistent /b/-reductions). Experience with inconsistent pronunciations leads to greater perceptual flexibility in dealing with other forms of reduction uttered by the same speaker than experience with consistent pronunciations.
  • Sadakata, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Individual aptitude in Mandarin lexical tone perception predicts effectiveness of high-variability training. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 1318. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01318.

    Abstract

    Although the high-variability training method can enhance learning of non-native speech categories, this can depend on individuals’ aptitude. The current study asked how general the effects of perceptual aptitude are by testing whether they occur with training materials spoken by native speakers and whether they depend on the nature of the to-be-learned material. Forty-five native Dutch listeners took part in a five-day training procedure in which they identified bisyllabic Mandarin pseudowords (e.g., asa) pronounced with different lexical tone combinations. The training materials were presented to different groups of listeners at three levels of variability: low (many repetitions of a limited set of words recorded by a single speaker), medium (fewer repetitions of a more variable set of words recorded by 3 speakers) and high (similar to medium but with 5 speakers). Overall, variability did not influence learning performance, but this was due to an interaction with individuals’ perceptual aptitude: increasing variability hindered improvements in performance for low-aptitude perceivers while it helped improvements in performance for high-aptitude perceivers. These results show that the previously observed interaction between individuals’ aptitude and effects of degree of variability extends to natural tokens of Mandarin speech. This interaction was not found, however, in a closely-matched study in which native Dutch listeners were trained on the Japanese geminate/singleton consonant contrast. This may indicate that the effectiveness of high-variability training depends not only on individuals’ aptitude in speech perception but also on the nature of the categories being acquired.
  • Takashima, A., Bakker, I., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Richness of information about novel words influences how episodic and semantic memory networks interact during lexicalization. NeuroImage, 84, 265-278. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.08.023.

    Abstract

    The complementary learning systems account of declarative memory suggests two distinct memory networks, a fast-mapping, episodic system involving the hippocampus, and a slower semantic memory system distributed across the neocortex in which new information is gradually integrated with existing representations. In this study, we investigated the extent to which these two networks are involved in the integration of novel words into the lexicon after extensive learning, and how the involvement of these networks changes after 24 hours. In particular, we explored whether having richer information at encoding influences the lexicalization trajectory. We trained participants with two sets of novel words, one where exposure was only to the words’ phonological forms (the form-only condition), and one where pictures of unfamiliar objects were associated with the words’ phonological forms (the picture-associated condition). A behavioral measure of lexical competition (indexing lexicalization) indicated stronger competition effects for the form-only words. Imaging (fMRI) results revealed greater involvement of phonological lexical processing areas immediately after training in the form-only condition, suggesting tight connections were formed between novel words and existing lexical entries already at encoding. Retrieval of picture-associated novel words involved the episodic/hippocampal memory system more extensively. Although lexicalization was weaker in the picture-associated condition, overall memory strength was greater when tested after a 24 hours’ delay, probably due to the availability of both episodic and lexical memory networks to aid retrieval. It appears that, during lexicalization of a novel word, the relative involvement of different memory networks differs according to the richness of the information about that word available at encoding.
  • Van Goch, M., McQueen, J. M., & Verhoeven, L. (2014). Learning phonologically specific new words fosters rhyme awareness in Dutch preliterate children. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18(3), 155-172. doi:10.1080/10888438.2013.827199.

    Abstract

    How do children use phonological knowledge about spoken language in acquiring literacy? Phonological precursors of literacy include phonological awareness, speech decoding skill, and lexical specificity (i.e., the richness of phonological representations in the mental lexicon). An intervention study investigated whether early literacy skills can be enhanced by training lexical specificity. Forty-two prereading 4-year-olds were randomly assigned to either an experimental group that was taught pairs of new words that differed minimally or a control group that received numeracy training. The experimental group gained on a rhyme awareness task, suggesting that learning phonologically specific new words fosters phonological awareness.
  • Warner, N., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2014). Tracking perception of the sounds of English. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 135, 2295-3006. doi:10.1121/1.4870486.

    Abstract

    Twenty American English listeners identified gated fragments of all 2288 possible English within-word and cross-word diphones, providing a total of 538 560 phoneme categorizations. The results show orderly uptake of acoustic information in the signal and provide a view of where information about segments occurs in time. Information locus depends on each speech sound’s identity and phonological features. Affricates and diphthongs have highly localized information so that listeners’ perceptual accuracy rises during a confined time range. Stops and sonorants have more distributed and gradually appearing information. The identity and phonological features (e.g., vowel vs consonant) of the neighboring segment also influences when acoustic information about a segment is available. Stressed vowels are perceived significantly more accurately than unstressed vowels, but this effect is greater for lax vowels than for tense vowels or diphthongs. The dataset charts the availability of perceptual cues to segment identity across time for the full phoneme repertoire of English in all attested phonetic contexts.
  • Weber, A., Di Betta, A. M., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Treack or trit: Adaptation to genuine and arbitrary foreign accents by monolingual and bilingual listeners. Journal of phonetics, 46, 34-51. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2014.05.002.

    Abstract

    Two cross-modal priming experiments examined two questions about word recognition in foreign-accented speech: Does accent adaptation occur only for genuine accents markers, and does adaptation depend on language experience? We compared recognition of words spoken with canonical, genuinely-accented and arbitrarily-accented vowels. In Experiment 1, an Italian speaker pronounced vowels in English prime words canonically, or by lengthening /ɪ/ as in a genuine Italian accent (*/tri:k/ for trick), or by arbitrarily shortening /i:/ (*/trɪt/ for treat). Lexical-decision times to subsequent visual target words showed different priming effects in three listener groups. Monolingual native English listeners recognized variants with lengthened but not shortened vowels. Bilingual nonnative Italian-English listeners, who could not reliably distinguish vowel length, recognized both variants. Bilingual nonnative Dutch-English listeners also recognized both variants. In Experiment 2, bilingual Dutch-English listeners recognized Dutch words with genuinely- and arbitrarily-accented vowels (spoken by a native Italian with lengthened and shortened vowels respectively), but recognized words with canonical vowels more easily than words with accented vowels. These results suggest that adaptation to genuine accent markers arises for monolingual and bilingual listeners alike and can occur in native and nonnative languages, but that bilinguals can adapt to arbitrary accent markers better than monolinguals.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). Tolerance for inconsistency in foreign-accented speech. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 512-519. doi:10.3758/s13423-013-0519-8.

    Abstract

    Are listeners able to adapt to a foreign-accented speaker who has, as is often the case, an inconsistent accent? Two groups of native Dutch listeners participated in a cross-modal priming experiment, either in a consistent-accent condition (German-accented items only) or in an inconsistent-accent condition (German-accented and nativelike pronunciations intermixed). The experimental words were identical for both groups (words with vowel substitutions characteristic of German-accented speech); additional contextual words differed in accentedness (German-accented or nativelike words). All items were spoken by the same speaker: a German native who could produce the accented forms but could also pass for a Dutch native speaker. Listeners in the consistent-accent group were able to adapt quickly to the speaker (i.e., showed facilitatory priming for words with vocalic substitutions). Listeners in the inconsistent-accent condition showed adaptation to words with vocalic substitutions only in the second half of the experiment. These results indicate that adaptation to foreign-accented speech is rapid. Accent inconsistency slows listeners down initially, but a short period of additional exposure is enough for them to adapt to the speaker. Listeners can therefore tolerate inconsistency in foreign-accented speech.
  • Andics, A., McQueen, J. M., & Petersson, K. M. (2013). Mean-based neural coding of voices. NeuroImage, 79, 351-360. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.002.

    Abstract

    The social significance of recognizing the person who talks to us is obvious, but the neural mechanisms that mediate talker identification are unclear. Regions along the bilateral superior temporal sulcus (STS) and the inferior frontal cortex (IFC) of the human brain are selective for voices, and they are sensitive to rapid voice changes. Although it has been proposed that voice recognition is supported by prototype-centered voice representations, the involvement of these category-selective cortical regions in the neural coding of such "mean voices" has not previously been demonstrated. Using fMRI in combination with a voice identity learning paradigm, we show that voice-selective regions are involved in the mean-based coding of voice identities. Voice typicality is encoded on a supra-individual level in the right STS along a stimulus-dependent, identity-independent (i.e., voice-acoustic) dimension, and on an intra-individual level in the right IFC along a stimulus-independent, identity-dependent (i.e., voice identity) dimension. Voice recognition therefore entails at least two anatomically separable stages, each characterized by neural mechanisms that reference the central tendencies of voice categories.
  • Asaridou, S. S., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Speech and music shape the listening brain: Evidence for shared domain-general mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 321. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00321.

    Abstract

    Are there bi-directional influences between speech perception and music perception? An answer to this question is essential for understanding the extent to which the speech and music that we hear are processed by domain-general auditory processes and/or by distinct neural auditory mechanisms. This review summarizes a large body of behavioral and neuroscientific findings which suggest that the musical experience of trained musicians does modulate speech processing, and a sparser set of data, largely on pitch processing, which suggest in addition that linguistic experience, in particular learning a tone language, modulates music processing. Although research has focused mostly on music on speech effects, we argue that both directions of influence need to be studied, and conclude that the picture which thus emerges is one of mutual interaction across domains. In particular, it is not simply that experience with spoken language has some effects on music perception, and vice versa, but that because of shared domain-general subcortical and cortical networks, experiences in both domains influence behavior in both domains.
  • Brandmeyer, A., Sadakata, M., Spyrou, L., McQueen, J. M., & Desain, P. (2013). Decoding of single-trial auditory mismatch responses for online perceptual monitoring and neurofeedback. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7: 265. doi:10.3389/fnins.2013.00265.

    Abstract

    Multivariate pattern classification methods are increasingly applied to neuroimaging data in the context of both fundamental research and in brain-computer interfacing approaches. Such methods provide a framework for interpreting measurements made at the single-trial level with respect to a set of two or more distinct mental states. Here, we define an approach in which the output of a binary classifier trained on data from an auditory mismatch paradigm can be used for online tracking of perception and as a neurofeedback signal. The auditory mismatch paradigm is known to induce distinct perceptual states related to the presentation of high- and low-probability stimuli, which are reflected in event-related potential (ERP) components such as the mismatch negativity (MMN). The first part of this paper illustrates how pattern classification methods can be applied to data collected in an MMN paradigm, including discussion of the optimization of preprocessing steps, the interpretation of features and how the performance of these methods generalizes across individual participants and measurement sessions. We then go on to show that the output of these decoding methods can be used in online settings as a continuous index of single-trial brain activation underlying perceptual discrimination. We conclude by discussing several potential domains of application, including neurofeedback, cognitive monitoring and passive brain-computer interfaces

    Supplementary material

    Brandmeyer_etal_2013a.pdf
  • Brandmeyer, A., Farquhar, J., McQueen, J. M., & Desain, P. (2013). Decoding speech perception by native and non-native speakers using single-trial electrophysiological data. PLoS One, 8: e68261. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068261.

    Abstract

    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are systems that use real-time analysis of neuroimaging data to determine the mental state of their user for purposes such as providing neurofeedback. Here, we investigate the feasibility of a BCI based on speech perception. Multivariate pattern classification methods were applied to single-trial EEG data collected during speech perception by native and non-native speakers. Two principal questions were asked: 1) Can differences in the perceived categories of pairs of phonemes be decoded at the single-trial level? 2) Can these same categorical differences be decoded across participants, within or between native-language groups? Results indicated that classification performance progressively increased with respect to the categorical status (within, boundary or across) of the stimulus contrast, and was also influenced by the native language of individual participants. Classifier performance showed strong relationships with traditional event-related potential measures and behavioral responses. The results of the cross-participant analysis indicated an overall increase in average classifier performance when trained on data from all participants (native and non-native). A second cross-participant classifier trained only on data from native speakers led to an overall improvement in performance for native speakers, but a reduction in performance for non-native speakers. We also found that the native language of a given participant could be decoded on the basis of EEG data with accuracy above 80%. These results indicate that electrophysiological responses underlying speech perception can be decoded at the single-trial level, and that decoding performance systematically reflects graded changes in the responses related to the phonological status of the stimuli. This approach could be used in extensions of the BCI paradigm to support perceptual learning during second language acquisition
  • Mani, N., Johnson, E., McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2013). How yellow is your banana? Toddlers' language-mediated visual search in referent-present tasks. Developmental Psychology, 49, 1036-1044. doi:10.1037/a0029382.

    Abstract

    What is the relative salience of different aspects of word meaning in the developing lexicon? The current study examines the time-course of retrieval of semantic and color knowledge associated with words during toddler word recognition: at what point do toddlers orient towards an image of a yellow cup upon hearing color-matching words such as “banana” (typically yellow) relative to unrelated words (e.g., “house”)? Do children orient faster to semantic matching images relative to color matching images, e.g., orient faster to an image of a cookie relative to a yellow cup upon hearing the word “banana”? The results strongly suggest a prioritization of semantic information over color information in children’s word-referent mappings. This indicates that, even for natural objects (e.g., food, animals that are more likely to have a prototypical color), semantic knowledge is a more salient aspect of toddler's word meaning than color knowledge. For 24-month-old Dutch toddlers, bananas are thus more edible than they are yellow.
  • Mitterer, H., Scharenborg, O., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Phonological abstraction without phonemes in speech perception. Cognition, 129, 356-361. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2013.07.011.

    Abstract

    Recent evidence shows that listeners use abstract prelexical units in speech perception. Using the phenomenon of lexical retuning in speech processing, we ask whether those units are necessarily phonemic. Dutch listeners were exposed to a Dutch speaker producing ambiguous phones between the Dutch syllable-final allophones approximant [r] and dark [l]. These ambiguous phones replaced either final /r/ or final /l/ in words in a lexical-decision task. This differential exposure affected perception of ambiguous stimuli on the same allophone continuum in a subsequent phonetic-categorization test: Listeners exposed to ambiguous phones in /r/-final words were more likely to perceive test stimuli as /r/ than listeners with exposure in /l/-final words. This effect was not found for test stimuli on continua using other allophones of /r/ and /l/. These results confirm that listeners use phonological abstraction in speech perception. They also show that context-sensitive allophones can play a role in this process, and hence that context-insensitive phonemes are not necessary. We suggest there may be no one unit of perception
  • Sadakata, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). High stimulus variability in nonnative speech learning supports formation of abstract categories: Evidence from Japanese geminates. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(2), 1324-1335. doi:10.1121/1.4812767.

    Abstract

    This study reports effects of a high-variability training procedure on nonnative learning of a Japanese geminate-singleton fricative contrast. Thirty native speakers of Dutch took part in a 5-day training procedure in which they identified geminate and singleton variants of the Japanese fricative /s/. Participants were trained with either many repetitions of a limited set of words recorded by a single speaker (low-variability training) or with fewer repetitions of a more variable set of words recorded by multiple speakers (high-variability training). Both types of training enhanced identification of speech but not of nonspeech materials, indicating that learning was domain specific. High-variability training led to superior performance in identification but not in discrimination tests, and supported better generalization of learning as shown by transfer from the trained fricatives to the identification of untrained stops and affricates. Variability thus helps nonnative listeners to form abstract categories rather than to enhance early acoustic analysis.
  • Sjerps, M. J., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2013). Evidence for precategorical extrinsic vowel normalization. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 75, 576-587. doi:10.3758/s13414-012-0408-7.

    Abstract

    Three experiments investigated whether extrinsic vowel normalization takes place largely at a categorical or a precategorical level of processing. Traditional vowel normalization effects in categorization were replicated in Experiment 1: Vowels taken from an [ɪ]-[ε] continuum were more often interpreted as /ɪ/ (which has a low first formant, F (1)) when the vowels were heard in contexts that had a raised F (1) than when the contexts had a lowered F (1). This was established with contexts that consisted of only two syllables. These short contexts were necessary for Experiment 2, a discrimination task that encouraged listeners to focus on the perceptual properties of vowels at a precategorical level. Vowel normalization was again found: Ambiguous vowels were more easily discriminated from an endpoint [ε] than from an endpoint [ɪ] in a high-F (1) context, whereas the opposite was true in a low-F (1) context. Experiment 3 measured discriminability between pairs of steps along the [ɪ]-[ε] continuum. Contextual influences were again found, but without discrimination peaks, contrary to what was predicted from the same participants' categorization behavior. Extrinsic vowel normalization therefore appears to be a process that takes place at least in part at a precategorical processing level.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2013). Foreign accent strength and listener familiarity with an accent co-determine speed of perceptual adaptation. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 75, 537-556. doi:10.3758/s13414-012-0404-y.

    Abstract

    We investigated how the strength of a foreign accent and varying types of experience with foreign-accented speech influence the recognition of accented words. In Experiment 1, native Dutch listeners with limited or extensive prior experience with German-accented Dutch completed a cross-modal priming experiment with strongly, medium, and weakly accented words. Participants with limited experience were primed by the medium and weakly accented words, but not by the strongly accented words. Participants with extensive experience were primed by all accent types. In Experiments 2 and 3, Dutch listeners with limited experience listened to a short story before doing the cross-modal priming task. In Experiment 2, the story was spoken by the priming task speaker and either contained strongly accented words or did not. Strongly accented exposure led to immediate priming by novel strongly accented words, while exposure to the speaker without strongly accented tokens led to priming only in the experiment’s second half. In Experiment 3, listeners listened to the story with strongly accented words spoken by a different German-accented speaker. Listeners were primed by the strongly accented words, but again only in the experiment’s second half. Together, these results show that adaptation to foreign-accented speech is rapid but depends on accent strength and on listener familiarity with those strongly accented words.
  • 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.

    Supplementary material

    mmc1.pdf
  • Brandmeyer, A., Desain, P. W., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Effects of native language on perceptual sensitivity to phonetic cues. Neuroreport, 23, 653-657. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e32835542cd.

    Abstract

    The present study used electrophysiological and behavioral measures to investigate the perception of an English stop consonant contrast by native English listeners and by native Dutch listeners who were highly proficient in English. A /ba/-/pa/ continuum was created from a naturally produced /pa/ token by removing successive periods of aspiration, thus reducing the voice onset time. Although aspiration is a relevant cue for distinguishing voiced and unvoiced labial stop consonants (/b/ and /p/) in English, prevoicing is the primary cue used to distinguish between these categories in Dutch. In the electrophysiological experiment, participants listened to oddball sequences containing the standard /pa/ stimulus and one of three deviant stimuli while the mismatch-negativity response was measured. Participants then completed an identification task on the same stimuli. The results showed that native English participants were more sensitive to reductions in aspiration than native Dutch participants, as indicated by shifts in the category boundary, by differing within-group patterns of mismatch-negativity responses, and by larger mean evoked potential amplitudes in the native English group for two of the three deviant stimuli. This between-group difference in the sensorineural processing of aspiration cues indicates that native language experience alters the way in which the acoustic features of speech are processed in the auditory brain, even following extensive second-language training.

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  • Kim, S., Cho, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Phonetic richness can outweigh prosodically-driven phonological knowledge when learning words in an artificial language. Journal of Phonetics, 40, 443-452. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2012.02.005.

    Abstract

    How do Dutch and Korean listeners use acoustic–phonetic information when learning words in an artificial language? Dutch has a voiceless ‘unaspirated’ stop, produced with shortened Voice Onset Time (VOT) in prosodic strengthening environments (e.g., in domain-initial position and under prominence), enhancing the feature {−spread glottis}; Korean has a voiceless ‘aspirated’ stop produced with lengthened VOT in similar environments, enhancing the feature {+spread glottis}. Given this cross-linguistic difference, two competing hypotheses were tested. The phonological-superiority hypothesis predicts that Dutch and Korean listeners should utilize shortened and lengthened VOTs, respectively, as cues in artificial-language segmentation. The phonetic-superiority hypothesis predicts that both groups should take advantage of the phonetic richness of longer VOTs (i.e., their enhanced auditory–perceptual robustness). Dutch and Korean listeners learned the words of an artificial language better when word-initial stops had longer VOTs than when they had shorter VOTs. It appears that language-specific phonological knowledge can be overridden by phonetic richness in processing an unfamiliar language. Listeners nonetheless performed better when the stimuli were based on the speech of their native languages, suggesting that the use of richer phonetic information was modulated by listeners' familiarity with the stimuli.
  • McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2012). Changing only the probability that spoken words will be distorted changes how they are recognized. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131(1), 509-517. doi:10.1121/1.3664087.

    Abstract

    An eye-tracking experiment examined contextual flexibility in speech processing in response to distortions in spoken input. Dutch participants heard Dutch sentences containing critical words and saw four-picture displays. The name of one picture either had the same onset phonemes as the critical word or had a different first phoneme and rhymed. Participants fixated onset-overlap more than rhyme-overlap pictures, but this tendency varied with speech quality. Relative to a baseline with noise-free sentences, participants looked less at onset-overlap and more at rhyme-overlap pictures when phonemes in the sentences (but not in the critical words) were replaced by noises like those heard on a badly-tuned AM radio. The position of the noises (word-initial or word-medial) had no effect. Noises elsewhere in the sentences apparently made evidence about the critical word less reliable: Listeners became less confident of having heard the onset-overlap name but also less sure of having not heard the rhyme-overlap name. The same acoustic information has different effects on spoken-word recognition as the probability of distortion changes.
  • 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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  • Poellmann, K., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2012). How talker-adaptation helps listeners recognize reduced word-forms [Abstract]. Program abstracts from the 164th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(3), 2053.

    Abstract

    Two eye-tracking experiments tested whether native listeners can adapt to reductions in casual Dutch speech. Listeners were exposed to segmental ([b] > [m]), syllabic (full-vowel-deletion), or no reductions. In a subsequent test phase, all three listener groups were tested on how efficiently they could recognize both types of reduced words. In the first Experiment’s exposure phase, the (un)reduced target words were predictable. The segmental reductions were completely consistent (i.e., involved the same input sequences). Learning about them was found to be pattern-specific and generalized in the test phase to new reduced /b/-words. The syllabic reductions were not consistent (i.e., involved variable input sequences). Learning about them was weak and not pattern-specific. Experiment 2 examined effects of word repetition and predictability. The (un-)reduced test words appeared in the exposure phase and were not predictable. There was no evidence of learning for the segmental reductions, probably because they were not predictable during exposure. But there was word-specific learning for the vowel-deleted words. The results suggest that learning about reductions is pattern-specific and generalizes to new words if the input is consistent and predictable. With variable input, there is more likely to be adaptation to a general speaking style and word-specific learning.
  • Sjerps, M. J., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Hemispheric differences in the effects of context on vowel perception. Brain and Language, 120, 401-405. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2011.12.012.

    Abstract

    Listeners perceive speech sounds relative to context. Contextual influences might differ over hemispheres if different types of auditory processing are lateralized. Hemispheric differences in contextual influences on vowel perception were investigated by presenting speech targets and both speech and non-speech contexts to listeners’ right or left ears (contexts and targets either to the same or to opposite ears). Listeners performed a discrimination task. Vowel perception was influenced by acoustic properties of the context signals. The strength of this influence depended on laterality of target presentation, and on the speech/non-speech status of the context signal. We conclude that contrastive contextual influences on vowel perception are stronger when targets are processed predominately by the right hemisphere. In the left hemisphere, contrastive effects are smaller and largely restricted to speech contexts.
  • Sjerps, M. J., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2012). Extrinsic normalization for vocal tracts depends on the signal, not on attention. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 394-397).

    Abstract

    When perceiving vowels, listeners adjust to speaker-specific vocal-tract characteristics (such as F1) through "extrinsic vowel normalization". This effect is observed as a shift in the location of categorization boundaries of vowel continua. Similar effects have been found with non-speech. Non-speech materials, however, have consistently led to smaller effect-sizes, perhaps because of a lack of attention to non-speech. The present study investigated this possibility. Non-speech materials that had previously been shown to elicit reduced normalization effects were tested again, with the addition of an attention manipulation. The results show that increased attention does not lead to increased normalization effects, suggesting that vowel normalization is mainly determined by bottom-up signal characteristics.
  • Sulpizio, S., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Italians use abstract knowledge about lexical stress during spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 66, 177-193. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2011.08.001.

    Abstract

    In two eye-tracking experiments in Italian, we investigated how acoustic information and stored knowledge about lexical stress are used during the recognition of tri-syllabic spoken words. Experiment 1 showed that Italians use acoustic cues to a word’s stress pattern rapidly in word recognition, but only for words with antepenultimate stress. Words with penultimate stress – the most common pattern – appeared to be recognized by default. In Experiment 2, listeners had to learn new words from which some stress cues had been removed, and then recognize reduced- and full-cue versions of those words. The acoustic manipulation affected recognition only of newly-learnt words with antepenultimate stress: Full-cue versions, even though they were never heard during training, were recognized earlier than reduced-cue versions. Newly-learnt words with penultimate stress were recognized earlier overall, but recognition of the two versions of these words did not differ. Abstract knowledge (i.e., knowledge generalized over the lexicon) about lexical stress – which pattern is the default and which cues signal the non-default pattern – appears to be used during the recognition of known and newly-learnt Italian words.
  • Viebahn, M. C., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2019-2022).

    Abstract

    This paper presents a corpus study that investigates the co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. We extracted Dutch past participles from three different speech registers and investigated the influence of several predictor variables on the presence and duration of schwas in prefixes and /t/s in suffixes. Our results suggest that reduced word forms tend to co-occur even if we partial out the effect of speech rate. The implications of our findings for episodic and abstractionist models of lexical representation are discussed.
  • Warner, N. L., McQueen, J. M., Liu, P. Z., Hoffmann, M., & Cutler, A. (2012). Timing of perception for all English diphones [Abstract]. Program abstracts from the 164th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(3), 1967.

    Abstract

    Information in speech does not unfold discretely over time; perceptual cues are gradient and overlapped. However, this varies greatly across segments and environments: listeners cannot identify the affricate in /ptS/ until the frication, but information about the vowel in /li/ begins early. Unlike most prior studies, which have concentrated on subsets of language sounds, this study tests perception of every English segment in every phonetic environment, sampling perceptual identification at six points in time (13,470 stimuli/listener; 20 listeners). Results show that information about consonants after another segment is most localized for affricates (almost entirely in the release), and most gradual for voiced stops. In comparison to stressed vowels, unstressed vowels have less information spreading to neighboring segments and are less well identified. Indeed, many vowels, especially lax ones, are poorly identified even by the end of the following segment. This may partly reflect listeners’ familiarity with English vowels’ dialectal variability. Diphthongs and diphthongal tense vowels show the most sudden improvement in identification, similar to affricates among the consonants, suggesting that information about segments defined by acoustic change is highly localized. This large dataset provides insights into speech perception and data for probabilistic modeling of spoken word recognition.
  • Adam, R., Orfanidou, E., McQueen, J. M., & Morgan, G. (2011). Sign language comprehension: Insights from misperceptions of different phonological parameters. In R. Channon, & H. Van der Hulst (Eds.), Formational units in sign languages (pp. 87-106). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter and Ishara Press.
  • Cho, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Perceptual recovery from consonant-cluster simplification using language-specific phonological knowledge. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 40, 253-274. doi:10.1007/s10936-011-9168-0.

    Abstract

    Two experiments examined whether perceptual recovery from Korean consonant-cluster simplification is based on language-specific phonological knowledge. In tri-consonantal C1C2C3 sequences such as /lkt/ and /lpt/ in Seoul Korean, either C1 or C2 can be completely deleted. Seoul Koreans monitored for C2 targets (/p/ or / k/, deleted or preserved) in the second word of a two-word phrase with an underlying /l/-C2-/t/ sequence. In Experiment 1 the target-bearing words had contextual lexical-semantic support. Listeners recovered deleted targets as fast and as accurately as preserved targets with both Word and Intonational Phrase (IP) boundaries between the two words. In Experiment 2, contexts were low-pass filtered. Listeners were still able to recover deleted targets as well as preserved targets in IP-boundary contexts, but better with physically-present targets than with deleted targets in Word-boundary contexts. This suggests that the benefit of having target acoustic-phonetic information emerges only when higher-order (contextual and phrase-boundary) information is not available. The strikingly efficient recovery of deleted phonemes with neither acoustic-phonetic cues nor contextual support demonstrates that language-specific phonological knowledge, rather than language-universal perceptual processes which rely on fine-grained phonetic details, is employed when the listener perceives the results of a continuous-speech process in which reduction is phonetically complete.
  • Hanulikova, A., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Effects of first and second language on segmentation of non-native speech. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 14, 506-521. doi:10.1017/S1366728910000428.

    Abstract

    We examined whether Slovak-German bilinguals apply native Slovak phonological and lexical knowledge when segmenting German speech. When Slovaks listen to their native language (Hanulíková, McQueen, & Mitterer, 2010), segmentation is impaired when fixed-stress cues are absent, and, following the Possible-Word Constraint (PWC; Norris, McQueen, Cutler, & Butterfield, 1997), lexical candidates are disfavored if segmentation leads to vowelless residues, unless those residues are existing Slovak words. In the present study, fixed-stress cues on German target words were again absent. Nevertheless, in support of the PWC, both German and Slovak listeners recognized German words (e.g., Rose "rose") faster in syllable contexts (suckrose) than in single- onsonant contexts (krose, trose). But only the Slovak listeners recognized Rose, for example, faster in krose than in trose (k is a Slovak word, t is not). It appears that non-native listeners can suppress native stress segmentation procedures, but that they suffer from prevailing interference from native lexical knowledge
  • Huettig, F., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). The nature of the visual environment induces implicit biases during language-mediated visual search. Memory & Cognition, 39, 1068-1084. doi:10.3758/s13421-011-0086-z.

    Abstract

    Four eye-tracking experiments examined whether semantic and visual-shape representations are routinely retrieved from printed-word displays and used during language-mediated visual search. Participants listened to sentences containing target words which were similar semantically or in shape to concepts invoked by concurrently-displayed printed words. In Experiment 1 the displays contained semantic and shape competitors of the targets, and two unrelated words. There were significant shifts in eye gaze as targets were heard towards semantic but not shape competitors. In Experiments 2-4, semantic competitors were replaced with unrelated words, semantically richer sentences were presented to encourage visual imagery, or participants rated the shape similarity of the stimuli before doing the eye-tracking task. In all cases there were no immediate shifts in eye gaze to shape competitors, even though, in response to the Experiment 1 spoken materials, participants looked to these competitors when they were presented as pictures (Huettig & McQueen, 2007). There was a late shape-competitor bias (more than 2500 ms after target onset) in all experiments. These data show that shape information is not used in online search of printed-word displays (whereas it is used with picture displays). The nature of the visual environment appears to induce implicit biases towards particular modes of processing during language-mediated visual search.
  • Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Positional effects in the lexical retuning of speech perception. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 943-950. doi:10.3758/s13423-011-0129-2.

    Abstract

    Listeners use lexical knowledge to adjust to speakers’ idiosyncratic pronunciations. Dutch listeners learn to interpret an ambiguous sound between /s/ and /f/ as /f/ if they hear it word-finally in Dutch words normally ending in /f/, but as /s/ if they hear it in normally /s/-final words. Here, we examined two positional effects in lexically guided retuning. In Experiment 1, ambiguous sounds during exposure always appeared in word-initial position (replacing the first sounds of /f/- or /s/-initial words). No retuning was found. In Experiment 2, the same ambiguous sounds always appeared word-finally during exposure. Here, retuning was found. Lexically guided perceptual learning thus appears to emerge reliably only when lexical knowledge is available as the to-be-tuned segment is initially being processed. Under these conditions, however, lexically guided retuning was position independent: It generalized across syllabic positions. Lexical retuning can thus benefit future recognition of particular sounds wherever they appear in words.
  • Johnson, E., McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2011). Toddlers’ language-mediated visual search: They need not have the words for it. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 1672-1682. doi:10.1080/17470218.2011.594165.

    Abstract

    Eye movements made by listeners during language-mediated visual search reveal a strong link between visual processing and conceptual processing. For example, upon hearing the word for a missing referent with a characteristic colour (e.g., “strawberry”), listeners tend to fixate a colour-matched distractor (e.g., a red plane) more than a colour-mismatched distractor (e.g., a yellow plane). We ask whether these shifts in visual attention are mediated by the retrieval of lexically stored colour labels. Do children who do not yet possess verbal labels for the colour attribute that spoken and viewed objects have in common exhibit language-mediated eye movements like those made by older children and adults? That is, do toddlers look at a red plane when hearing “strawberry”? We observed that 24-montholds lacking colour term knowledge nonetheless recognized the perceptual–conceptual commonality between named and seen objects. This indicates that language-mediated visual search need not depend on stored labels for concepts.
  • Poellmann, K., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2011). The time course of perceptual learning. In W.-S. Lee, & E. Zee (Eds.), Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 2011 [ICPhS XVII] (pp. 1618-1621). Hong Kong: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong.

    Abstract

    Two groups of participants were trained to perceive an ambiguous sound [s/f] as either /s/ or /f/ based on lexical bias: One group heard the ambiguous fricative in /s/-final words, the other in /f/-final words. This kind of exposure leads to a recalibration of the /s/-/f/ contrast [e.g., 4]. In order to investigate when and how this recalibration emerges, test trials were interspersed among training and filler trials. The learning effect needed at least 10 clear training items to arise. Its emergence seemed to occur in a rather step-wise fashion. Learning did not improve much after it first appeared. It is likely, however, that the early test trials attracted participants' attention and therefore may have interfered with the learning process.
  • Reinisch, E., Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Speaking rate affects the perception of duration as a suprasegmental lexical-stress cue. Language and Speech, 54(2), 147-165. doi:10.1177/0023830910397489.

    Abstract

    Three categorization experiments investigated whether the speaking rate of a preceding sentence influences durational cues to the perception of suprasegmental lexical-stress patterns. Dutch two-syllable word fragments had to be judged as coming from one of two longer words that matched the fragment segmentally but differed in lexical stress placement. Word pairs contrasted primary stress on either the first versus the second syllable or the first versus the third syllable. Duration of the initial or the second syllable of the fragments and rate of the preceding context (fast vs. slow) were manipulated. Listeners used speaking rate to decide about the degree of stress on initial syllables whether the syllables' absolute durations were informative about stress (Experiment 1a) or not (Experiment 1b). Rate effects on the second syllable were visible only when the initial syllable was ambiguous in duration with respect to the preceding rate context (Experiment 2). Absolute second syllable durations contributed little to stress perception (Experiment 3). These results suggest that speaking rate is used to disambiguate words and that rate-modulated stress cues are more important on initial than non-initial syllables. Speaking rate affects perception of suprasegmental information.
  • Reinisch, E., Jesse, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Speaking rate from proximal and distal contexts is used during word segmentation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37, 978-996. doi:10.1037/a0021923.

    Abstract

    A series of eye-tracking and categorization experiments investigated the use of speaking-rate information in the segmentation of Dutch ambiguous-word sequences. Juncture phonemes with ambiguous durations (e.g., [s] in 'eens (s)peer,' “once (s)pear,” [t] in 'nooit (t)rap,' “never staircase/quick”) were perceived as longer and hence more often as word-initial when following a fast than a slow context sentence. Listeners used speaking-rate information as soon as it became available. Rate information from a context proximal to the juncture phoneme and from a more distal context was used during on-line word recognition, as reflected in listeners' eye movements. Stronger effects of distal context, however, were observed in the categorization task, which measures the off-line results of the word-recognition process. In categorization, the amount of rate context had the greatest influence on the use of rate information, but in eye tracking, the rate information's proximal location was the most important. These findings constrain accounts of how speaking rate modulates the interpretation of durational cues during word recognition by suggesting that rate estimates are used to evaluate upcoming phonetic information continuously during prelexical speech processing.
  • Sadakata, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). The role of variability in non-native perceptual learning of a Japanese geminate-singleton fricative contrast. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2011), Florence, Italy (pp. 873-876).

    Abstract

    The current study reports the enhancing effect of a high variability training procedure in the learning of a Japanese geminate-singleton fricative contrast. Dutch natives took part in a five-day training procedure in which they identified geminate and singleton variants of the Japanese fricative /s/. They heard either many repetitions of a limited set of words recorded by a single speaker (simple training) or fewer repetitions of a more variable set of words recorded by multiple speakers (variable training). Pre-post identification evaluations and a transfer test indicated clear benefits of the variable training.
  • Scharenborg, O., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Perceptual learning of liquids. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2011), Florence, Italy (pp. 149-152).

    Abstract

    Previous research on lexically-guided perceptual learning has focussed on contrasts that differ primarily in local cues, such as plosive and fricative contrasts. The present research had two aims: to investigate whether perceptual learning occurs for a contrast with non-local cues, the /l/-/r/ contrast, and to establish whether STRAIGHT can be used to create ambiguous sounds on an /l/-/r/ continuum. Listening experiments showed lexically-guided learning about the /l/-/r/ contrast. Listeners can thus tune in to unusual speech sounds characterised by non-local cues. Moreover, STRAIGHT can be used to create stimuli for perceptual learning experiments, opening up new research possibilities. Index Terms: perceptual learning, morphing, liquids, human word recognition, STRAIGHT.
  • Sjerps, M. J., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Listening to different speakers: On the time-course of perceptual compensation for vocal-tract characteristics. Neuropsychologia, 49, 3831-3846. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.09.044.

    Abstract

    This study used an active multiple-deviant oddball design to investigate the time-course of normalization processes that help listeners deal with between-speaker variability. Electroencephalograms were recorded while Dutch listeners heard sequences of non-words (standards and occasional deviants). Deviants were [ɪ papu] or [ɛ papu], and the standard was [ɪɛpapu], where [ɪɛ] was a vowel that was ambiguous between [ɛ] and [ɪ]. These sequences were presented in two conditions, which differed with respect to the vocal-tract characteristics (i.e., the average 1st formant frequency) of the [papu] part, but not of the initial vowels [ɪ], [ɛ] or [ɪɛ] (these vowels were thus identical across conditions). Listeners more often detected a shift from [ɪɛpapu] to [ɛ papu] than from [ɪɛpapu] to [ɪ papu] in the high F1 context condition; the reverse was true in the low F1 context condition. This shows that listeners’ perception of vowels differs depending on the speaker‘s vocal-tract characteristics, as revealed in the speech surrounding those vowels. Cortical electrophysiological responses reflected this normalization process as early as about 120 ms after vowel onset, which suggests that shifts in perception precede influences due to conscious biases or decision strategies. Listeners’ abilities to normalize for speaker-vocal-tract properties are for an important part the result of a process that influences representations of speech sounds early in the speech processing stream.
  • Sjerps, M. J., Mitterer, H., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Constraints on the processes responsible for the extrinsic normalization of vowels. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 73, 1195-1215. doi:10.3758/s13414-011-0096-8.

    Abstract

    Listeners tune in to talkers’ vowels through extrinsic normalization. We asked here whether this process could be based on compensation for the Long Term Average Spectrum (LTAS) of preceding sounds and whether the mechanisms responsible for normalization are indifferent to the nature of those sounds. If so, normalization should apply to nonspeech stimuli. Previous findings were replicated with first formant (F1) manipulations of speech. Targets on a [pIt]-[pEt] (low-high F1) continuum were labeled as [pIt] more after high-F1 than after low-F1 precursors. Spectrally-rotated nonspeech versions of these materials produced similar normalization. None occurred, however, with nonspeech stimuli that were less speech-like, even though precursor-target LTAS relations were equivalent to those used earlier. Additional experiments investigated the roles of pitch movement, amplitude variation, formant location, and the stimuli's perceived similarity to speech. It appears that normalization is not restricted to speech, but that the nature of the preceding sounds does matter. Extrinsic normalization of vowels is due at least in part to an auditory process which may require familiarity with the spectro-temporal characteristics of speech.
  • Sulpizio, S., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). When two newly-acquired words are one: New words differing in stress alone are not automatically represented differently. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2011), Florence, Italy (pp. 1385-1388).

    Abstract

    Do listeners use lexical stress at an early stage in word learning? Artificial-lexicon studies have shown that listeners can learn new spoken words easily. These studies used non-words differing in consonants and/or vowels, but not differing only in stress. If listeners use stress information in word learning, they should be able to learn new words that differ only in stress (e.g., BInulo-biNUlo). We investigated this issue here. When learning new words, Italian listeners relied on segmental information; they did not take stress information into account. Newly-acquired words differing in stress alone are not automatically represented as different words.
  • Witteman, M. J., Bardhan, N. P., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). Adapting to foreign-accented speech: The role of delay in testing. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Program abstracts of the 162nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 130(4), 2443.

    Abstract

    Understanding speech usually seems easy, but it can become noticeably harder when the speaker has a foreign accent. This is because foreign accents add considerable variation to speech. Research on foreign-accented speech shows that participants are able to adapt quickly to this type of variation. Less is known, however, about longer-term maintenance of adaptation. The current study focused on long-term adaptation by exposing native listeners to foreign-accented speech on Day 1, and testing them on comprehension of the accent one day later. Comprehension was thus not tested immediately, but only after a 24 hour period. On Day 1, native Dutch listeners listened to the speech of a Hebrew learner of Dutch while performing a phoneme monitoring task that did not depend on the talker’s accent. In particular, shortening of the long vowel /i/ into /ɪ/ (e.g., lief [li:f], ‘sweet’, pronounced as [lɪf]) was examined. These mispronunciations did not create lexical ambiguities in Dutch. On Day 2, listeners participated in a cross-modal priming task to test their comprehension of the accent. The results will be contrasted with results from an experiment without delayed testing and related to accounts of how listeners maintain adaptation to foreign-accented speech.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2011). On the relationship between perceived accentedness, acoustic similarity, and processing difficulty in foreign-accented speech. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2011), Florence, Italy (pp. 2229-2232).

    Abstract

    Foreign-accented speech is often perceived as more difficult to understand than native speech. What causes this potential difficulty, however, remains unknown. In the present study, we compared acoustic similarity and accent ratings of American-accented Dutch with a cross-modal priming task designed to measure online speech processing. We focused on two Dutch diphthongs: ui and ij. Though both diphthongs deviated from standard Dutch to varying degrees and perceptually varied in accent strength, native Dutch listeners recognized words containing the diphthongs easily. Thus, not all foreign-accented speech hinders comprehension, and acoustic similarity and perceived accentedness are not always predictive of processing difficulties.
  • Andics, A., McQueen, J. M., Petersson, K. M., Gál, V., Rudas, G., & Vidnyánszky, Z. (2010). Neural mechanisms for voice recognition. NeuroImage, 52, 1528-1540. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.05.048.

    Abstract

    We investigated neural mechanisms that support voice recognition in a training paradigm with fMRI. The same listeners were trained on different weeks to categorize the mid-regions of voice-morph continua as an individual's voice. Stimuli implicitly defined a voice-acoustics space, and training explicitly defined a voice-identity space. The predefined centre of the voice category was shifted from the acoustic centre each week in opposite directions, so the same stimuli had different training histories on different tests. Cortical sensitivity to voice similarity appeared over different time-scales and at different representational stages. First, there were short-term adaptation effects: Increasing acoustic similarity to the directly preceding stimulus led to haemodynamic response reduction in the middle/posterior STS and in right ventrolateral prefrontal regions. Second, there were longer-term effects: Response reduction was found in the orbital/insular cortex for stimuli that were most versus least similar to the acoustic mean of all preceding stimuli, and, in the anterior temporal pole, the deep posterior STS and the amygdala, for stimuli that were most versus least similar to the trained voice-identity category mean. These findings are interpreted as effects of neural sharpening of long-term stored typical acoustic and category-internal values. The analyses also reveal anatomically separable voice representations: one in a voice-acoustics space and one in a voice-identity space. Voice-identity representations flexibly followed the trained identity shift, and listeners with a greater identity effect were more accurate at recognizing familiar voices. Voice recognition is thus supported by neural voice spaces that are organized around flexible ‘mean voice’ representations.
  • Cutler, A., Eisner, F., McQueen, J. M., & Norris, D. (2010). How abstract phonemic categories are necessary for coping with speaker-related variation. In C. Fougeron, B. Kühnert, M. D'Imperio, & N. Vallée (Eds.), Laboratory phonology 10 (pp. 91-111). Berlin: de Gruyter.

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