Perceptual Adaptation of Voice Gender Discrimination With Spectrally Shifted Vowels

Li, Tianhao; Fu, Qian-Jie; Schlauch, Robert
August 2011
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2011, Vol. 54 Issue 4, p1240
Academic Journal
Purpose: To determine whether perceptual adaptation improves voice gender discrimination of spectrally shifted vowels and, if so, which acoustic cues contribute to the improvement. Method: Voice gender discrimination was measured for10normal-hearing subjects, during 5 days of adaptation to spectrally shifted vowels, produced by processing the speech of 5 male and 5 female talkers with 16-channel sine-wave vocoders. The subjects were randomly divided into 2 groups; one subjected to 50-Hz, and the other to 200-Hz, temporal envelope cutoff frequencies. No preview or feedback was provided. Results: There was significant adaptation in voice gender discrimination with the 200-Hz cutoff frequency, but significant improvement was observed only for 3 female talkers with F[sub o]> 180 Hz and 3 male talkers with F[sub 0] .. 170 Hz. There was no significant adaptation with the 50-Hz cutoff frequency. Conclusions: Temporal envelope cues are important for voice gender discrimination under spectral shift conditions with perceptual adaptation, but spectral shift may limit the exclusive use of spectral information and/or the use of formant structure on voice gender discrimination. The results have implications for cochlear implant users and for understanding voice gender discrimination.


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