The effect of target-background synchronicity on speech-in-speech recognition

Brouwer, S., & Bradlow, A. R. (2015). The effect of target-background synchronicity on speech-in-speech recognition. In Scottish consortium for ICPhS 2015, M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. Scobbie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2015). Glasgow: University of Glasgow.
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether speech-in-speech recognition is affected by variation in the target-background timing relationship. Specifically, we examined whether within trial synchronous or asynchronous onset and offset of the target and background speech influenced speech-in-speech recognition. Native English listeners were presented with English target sentences in the presence of English or Dutch background speech. Importantly, only the short-term temporal context –in terms of onset and offset synchrony or asynchrony of the target and background speech– varied across conditions. Participants’ task was to repeat back the English target sentences. The results showed an effect of synchronicity for English-in-English but not for English-in-Dutch recognition, indicating that familiarity with the English background lead in the asynchronous English-in-English condition might have attracted attention towards the English background. Overall, this study demonstrated that speech-in-speech recognition is sensitive to the target-background timing relationship, revealing an important role for variation in the local context of the target-background relationship as it extends beyond the limits of the time-frame of the to-be-recognized target sentence.
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