Developmental Role of Static, Dynamic, and Contextual Cues in Speech Perception

Hicks, Candace Bourland; Ohde, Ralph N.
August 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2005, Vol. 48 Issue 4, p960
Academic Journal
The purpose of the current study was to examine the role of syllable duration context as well as static and dynamic acoustic properties in child and adult speech perception. Ten adults and eleven 4-5-year-old children identified a syllable as [ba] or [wa] (stop--glide contrast) in 3 conditions differing in synthetic continua. The 1st condition tested the potential existence of the syllable duration effect in young children, whereas the 2nd and 3rd conditions examined the developmental role of static and dynamic cues, respectively, as related to syllable duration context effects. In the 1st condition, the 1st and 2nd formant transition duration of stimuli varied from those appropriate for [ba] to those appropriate for [wa]. For the 2nd condition, a static burst was added to Condition 1 stimuli. For the 3rd condition, the dynamic transition frequency and transition duration for the first 3 formants varied as appropriate for [ba] and [wa]. In each condition, 3 syllable context durations of 105 ms, 170 ms, and 315 ms were tested. The results indicated that syllable duration context effects were present across all conditions for both adults and children. However, the adults and children did differ in the 3rd condition, in which both the transition frequency and the transition duration were altered. Thus, children used the dynamic formant transitions differently than adults when transition frequency was varied along with transition duration. These findings show that children have a bias toward formant transitions and indicate that young children of 4-5 years of age attend differently than adults to changes in dynamic cues such as formant transitions, as predicted by the developmental cue weighting shift model.


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