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Atten Percept Psychophys. 2010 Aug;72(6):1614-25. doi: 10.3758/APP.72.6.1614.

Alignment to visual speech information.

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University of California, Riverside, California, USA.


Speech alignment is the tendency for interlocutors to unconsciously imitate one another's speaking style. Alignment also occurs when a talker is asked to shadow recorded words (e.g., Shockley, Sabadini, & Fowler, 2004). In two experiments, we examined whether alignment could be induced with visual (lipread) speech and with auditory speech. In Experiment 1, we asked subjects to lipread and shadow out loud a model silently uttering words. The results indicate that shadowed utterances sounded more similar to the model's utterances than did subjects' nonshadowed read utterances. This suggests that speech alignment can be based on visual speech. In Experiment 2, we tested whether raters could perceive alignment across modalities. Raters were asked to judge the relative similarity between a model's visual (silent video) utterance and subjects' audio utterances. The subjects' shadowed utterances were again judged as more similar to the model's than were read utterances, suggesting that raters are sensitive to cross-modal similarity between aligned words.

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