Developmental Effects of Multiple Looks in Speech Sound Discrimination

Holt, Rachael Frush; Carney, Arlene Early
December 2007
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2007, Vol. 50 Issue 6, p1404
Academic Journal
Purpose: The change/no-change procedure (J. E. Sussman & A. E. Carney, 1989), which assesses speech discrimination, has been used under the assumption that the number of stimulus presentations does not influence performance. Motivated by the tenets of the multiple looks hypothesis (N. F. Viemeister & G. H. Wakefield, 1991), work by R. F. Holt and A. E. Carney (2005) called this assumption into question (at least for adults): Nonsense syllable discrimination improved with more stimulus presentations. This study investigates the nature of developmental differences and the effects of multiple stimulus presentations in the change/no-change procedure. Method: Thirty normal-hearing children, ages 4.0-5.9 years, were tested on 3 consonant-vowel contrasts at various signal-to-noise ratios using combinations of 2 and 4 standard and comparison stimulus repetitions. Results: Although performance fell below that which is predicted by the multiple looks hypothesis in most conditions, discrimination was enhanced with more stimulus repetitions for 1 speech contrast. The relative influence of standard and comparison stimulus repetitions varied across the speech contrasts in a manner different from that of adults. Conclusion: Despite providing no additional sensory information, multiple stimulus repetitions enhanced children's discrimination of 1 set of nonsense syllables. The results have implications for models of developmental speech perception and assessing speech discrimination in children.


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