Listening to yourself is special: Evidence from global speech rate tracking

Maslowski, M., Meyer, A. S., & Bosker, H. R. (2018). Listening to yourself is special: Evidence from global speech rate tracking. PLoS One, 13(9): e0203571. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203571.
Listeners are known to use adjacent contextual speech rate in processing temporally ambiguous speech sounds. For instance, an ambiguous vowel between short /A/ and long /a:/ in Dutch sounds relatively long (i.e., as /a:/) embedded in a fast precursor sentence, but short in a slow sentence. Besides the local speech rate, listeners also track talker-specific global speech rates. However, it is yet unclear whether other talkers' global rates are encoded with reference to a listener's self-produced rate. Three experiments addressed this question. In Experiment 1, one group of participants was instructed to speak fast, whereas another group had to speak slowly. The groups were compared on their perception of ambiguous /A/-/a:/ vowels embedded in neutral rate speech from another talker. In Experiment 2, the same participants listened to playback of their own speech and again evaluated target vowels in neutral rate speech. Neither of these experiments provided support for the involvement of self-produced speech in perception of another talker's speech rate. Experiment 3 repeated Experiment 2 but with a new participant sample that was unfamiliar with the participants from Experiment 2. This experiment revealed fewer /a:/ responses in neutral speech in the group also listening to a fast rate, suggesting that neutral speech sounds slow in the presence of a fast talker and vice versa. Taken together, the findings show that self-produced speech is processed differently from speech produced by others. They carry implications for our understanding of the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms involved in rate-dependent speech perception in dialogue settings.
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