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J Acoust Soc Am. 2006 Jun;119(6):4027-40.

Processing unattended speech.

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Laboratoire de Psychologie Expérimentale, CNRS, Université René Descartes, Institut de Mèdecine Aérospatiale du Service de Santé des Armées, France.


Three experiments examine the effect of a difference in fundamental frequency (F0) range between two simultaneous voices on the processing of unattended speech. Previous experiments have only found evidence for the processing of nominally unattended speech when it has consisted of isolated words which could have attracted the listener's attention. A paradigm recently used by Dupoux et al. [J. Exp. Psychol.: Human Percept. Perform. 29(1), 172-184 (2003)] was modified so that participants had to detect a target word belonging to a specific category presented in a rapid list of words in the attended ear. In the unattended ear, concatenated sentences were presented, some containing a repetition prime presented just before a target word. Primes speeded category detection by 25 ms when the two messages were in a difference F0 range. This priming effect was unaffected by whether the target was led to the left or the right ear, but disappeared when there was no F0 range difference between the messages. Finally, it was replicated when participants were compelled to focus on the attended message in order to perform a second task. The results demonstrate that repetition priming can be produced by words in unattended continuous speech provided that there is a difference in F0 range between the voices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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