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Influence of fundamental frequency on stop-consonant voicing perception: A case of learned covariation or auditory enhancement?
journal contributionposted on 2001-02-01, 00:00 authored by Lori HoltLori Holt, A J Lotto, K R Kluender
For stimuli modeling stop consonants varying in the acoustic correlates of voice onset time (VOT), human listeners are more likely to perceive stimuli with lower f0's as voiced consonants - a pattern of perception that follows regularities in English speech production. The present study examines the basis of this observation. One hypothesis is that lower f0's enhance perception of voiced stops by virtue of perceptual interactions that arise from the operating characteristics of the auditory system. A second hypothesis is that this perceptual pattern develops as a result of experience with f0-voicing covariation. In a test of these hypotheses, Japanese quail learned to respond to stimuli drawn from a series varying in VOT through training with one of three patterns of f'0-voicing covariation. Voicing and f0 varied in the natural pattern (shorter VOT, lower f0), in an inverse pattern (shorter VOT, higher f0), or in a random pattern (no f0-voicing covariation). Birds trained with stimuli that had no f0-voicing covariation exhibited no effect of f0 on response to novel stimuli varying in VOT. For the other groups, birds' responses followed the experienced pattern of covariation. These results suggest f0 does not exert an obligatory influence on categorization of consonants as [VOICE] and emphasize the learnability of covariation among acoustic characteristics of speech. (C) 2001 Acoustical Society. of America.