Knowledge of a talker’s f0 affects subsequent perception of voiceless fricatives

Uluşahin, O., Bosker, H. R., McQueen, J. M., & Meyer, A. S. (in press). Knowledge of a talker’s f0 affects subsequent perception of voiceless fricatives. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Speech Prosody.
The human brain deals with the infinite variability of speech through multiple mechanisms. Some of them rely solely on information in the speech input (i.e., signal-driven) whereas some rely on linguistic or real-world knowledge (i.e., knowledge-driven). Many signal-driven perceptual processes rely on the enhancement of acoustic differences between incoming speech sounds, producing contrastive adjustments. For instance, when an ambiguous voiceless fricative is preceded by a high fundamental frequency (f0) sentence, the fricative is perceived as having lower a spectral center of gravity (CoG). However, it is not clear whether knowledge of a talker’s typical f0 can lead to similar contrastive effects. This study investigated a possible talker f0 effect on fricative CoG perception. In the exposure phase, two groups of participants (N=16 each) heard the same talker at high or low f0 for 20 minutes. Later, in the test phase, participants rated fixed-f0 /?ɔk/ tokens as being /sɔk/ (i.e., high CoG) or /ʃɔk/ (i.e., low CoG), where /?/ represents a fricative from a 5-step /s/-/ʃ/ continuum. Surprisingly, the data revealed the opposite of our contrastive hypothesis, whereby hearing high f0 instead biased perception towards high CoG. Thus, we demonstrated that talker f0 information affects fricative CoG perception.
Publication type
Proceedings paper

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