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J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Jul;118(1):249-62.

Perceptual compensation for effects of reverberation in speech identification.

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School of Psychology, The University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AL, United Kingdom.


Listeners were asked to identify modified recordings of the words "sir" and "stir," which were spoken by an adult male British-English speaker. Steps along a continuum between the words were obtained by a pointwise interpolation of their temporal-envelopes. These test words were embedded in a longer "context" utterance, and played with different amounts of reverberation. Increasing only the test-word's reverberation shifts the listener's category boundary so that more "sir"-identifications are made. This effect reduces when the context's reverberation is also increased, indicating perceptual compensation that is informed by the context. Experiment 1 finds that compensation is more prominent in rapid speech, that it varies between rooms, that it is more prominent when the test-word's reverberation is high, and that it increases with the context's reverberation. Further experiments show that compensation persists when the room is switched between the context and the test word, when presentation is monaural, and when the context is reversed. However, compensation reduces when the context's reverberation pattern is reversed, as well as when noise-versions of the context are used. "Tails" that reverberation introduces at the ends of sounds and at spectral transitions may inform the compensation mechanism about the amount of reflected sound in the signal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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