Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

It's All in the Details

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

It's All in the Details

Article excerpt

SPEECH PERCEPTION

Toscano et al. (2010). Continuous perception and graded categorization. Psychol Sci, 21, 1532.

Speech is highly variable: The way a speech sound is produced and its acoustic form can change dramatically depending on a host of factors, from how fast or slow we talk, to the idiosyncratic properties of a particular speaker's voice. How, then, do listeners know that a word such as dog is the same, even when spoken by different speakers? How do listeners maintain perceptual constancy in the face of the enormous amount of variation in the acoustic speech signal? Over the years, one explanation has been that listeners rapidly categorize speech sounds during perception, losing the fine acoustic details of instances within a particular category. A contrasting view posits that listeners are sensitive to these details of the speech signal and that variation is retained during the perception of speech. Toscano et al. addressed this question by examining sensitivity to within- and between-category variations in the voice onset time (VOT) of initial consonants. …

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