• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Speech Perception

Page history last edited by Kelsey Kicklighter 11 years, 7 months ago

Speech Perception







What is Speech Perception?



Speech perception is when your auditory system receives sound vibrations from someone speaking, and you process the sound vibrations to translate them into linguistic information. The smallest unit of language is a phoneme. Phonemes are language specific, and each language has different amounts of phonemes. Phonemes lack invariance. If phonemes were invariant then each phoneme would have only one waveform representation. However, in actuality phonemes have different sounds. Such as the "ee" sound in "we" and the same phoneme in the word "money". If invariance worked then they would be the same, but they are not. Coarticulation influences the lack of invariance in speech perception. Coarticulation is when the articulation of one phoneme influences the articulation of the next phoneme, or the overlapping of phonemes that are neighboring. Since coarticulation overlaps the articulations of phonemes, each phoneme will be perceived differently. Therefore, phonemes are not invariant. Even though there is so much variability in phoneme pronunciation, we are still able to manage to understand the speaker's intended phonemes. Humans are very perceptive when listening to speech. They can use context clues to figure out missing words or sounds. This is due to the phonemic restoration effect. The phonemic restoration effect is when a listener fills in a missing phoneme using context as a clue. In a study done by Warren and Warren, the listeners listened to a sentence and had to determine where a missing phoneme was replaced by a cough. When the listeners were asked where the cough was they could not correctly identify the coughs position in the sentence or the missing phoneme. Also, visual cues can help in speech perception. The McGurk effect shows the effects of visual cues on speech perception. The McGurk effect is when a person integrates both visual and auditory information to figure out what a person is saying. In conclusion, humans do very well at speech perception, and they use a variety of clues to understand what another person is saying. 


Approaches to Speech Perception


There are two types of approaches to speech perception, the special mechanisms approach and the general mechanism approaches. The special mechanism approach means that humans are born with a special mechanism that allows humans to decode speech stimuli. Under this approach researchers argue that humans have a phonetic module. A phonetic module is a special neural mechanism that handles all the aspects of speech perception. Categorical perception is an argument in favor of the phonetic module. Categorical perception is when a person hears a sound halfway between letters, but they either hear one of the letters clear-cut. The other approaches are under the general mechanism approaches. They explain speech perception without proposing a phonetic module. Researchers that support these approaches believe that humans use neural mechanisms that work for other processes to also perceive speech.  




Speech Perception Empirical and Theoretical Consideration:

This website describes phonemes and invariance in speech. 


Speech Perception:

This article is about the ways speech is perceived. 


Visual Influences on Speech Perception:

The McGurk effect is defined on this website, and states that visual influences have an effect on the perception of speech. 


Speech Perception Powerpoint:

A powerpoint about speech perception, and experiments that deal with speech perception. 


Categorical Perception:

This article defines categorical perception and gives the history of categorical perception. 


Coarticulation :

This article describes coarticulation and how it works. 


McGurk Effect:

This is a video that shows the McGurk effect in action, and explains what exactly you are seeing and hearing. 


Phonemic Restoration:

A video that uses white noise in the place of the "s" in "legislatures" and asks if you hear the "s". This video shows phonemic restoration.


Early Research on Speech Perception:

This article describes the lack of invariance.


Article on Motor Theory:

The article is about revisions to the Motor Theory of speech perception.


The Problem of Invariance:

This is an article about how there is not invariance in speech perception. 




Matlin, Margaret. Cognition. 7th. Crawfordsville: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2009. 


This page was created by Kelsey Kicklighter.

Disclaimer: To my knowledge, all images, text and links are public material, if not please email me at kelsey.kicklighter@gmail.com and I will remove them immediately.


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.