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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2009 Apr;35(2):520-9. doi: 10.1037/a0013552.

Comprehension of familiar and unfamiliar native accents under adverse listening conditions.

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Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


This study aimed to determine the relative processing cost associated with comprehension of an unfamiliar native accent under adverse listening conditions. Two sentence verification experiments were conducted in which listeners heard sentences at various signal-to-noise ratios. In Experiment 1, these sentences were spoken in a familiar or an unfamiliar native accent or in two familiar native accents. In Experiment 2, they were spoken in a familiar or unfamiliar native accent or in a nonnative accent. The results indicated that the differences between the native accents influenced the speed of language processing under adverse listening conditions and that this processing speed was modulated by the relative familiarity of the listener with the native accent. Furthermore, the results showed that the processing cost associated with the nonnative accent was larger than for the unfamiliar native accent.

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