Pisoni_Training_II_1993

Pisoni_Training_II_1993 - Training Japanese listeners to...

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Training Japanese listeners to identify English/r/and/1/. II: The role of phonetic environment and talker variability in learning new perceptual categories Scott E. Lively, John S. Logan, a) and David B. Pisoni b) Speech Research Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405 (Received 24 September 1992; revised 22 March 1993; accepted 4 May 1993) Two experiments were carried out to extend Logan et al.'s recent study [J. S. Logan, S. E. Lively, and D. B. Pisoni, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 89, 874-886 ( 1991 )] on training Japanese listeners to identify English/r/and/1/. Subjects in experiment 1 were trained in an identification task with multiple talkers who produced English words containing the /r/-/l/contrast in initial singleton, initial consonant clusters, and intervocalic positions. Moderate, but significant, increases in accuracy and decreases in response latency were observed between pretest and posttest and during training sessions. Subjects also generalized to new words produced by a familiar talker and novel words produced by an unfamiliar talker. In experiment 2, a new group of subjects was trained with tokens from a single talker who produced words containing the /r/-/1/contrast in five phonetic environments. Although subjects improved during training and showed increases in pretest-posttest performance, they failed to generalize to tokens produced by a new talker. The results of the present experiments suggest that variability plays an important role in perceptual learning and robust category formation. During training, listeners develop talker-specific, context-dependent representations for new phonetic categories by selectively shifting attention toward the contrasrive dimensions of the non-native phonetic categories. Phonotactic constraints in the native language, similarity of the new contrast to distinctions in the native language, and the distinctiveness of contrasrive cues all appear to mediate category acquisition. PACS numbers: 43.71.Hw, 43.71.Es, 43.71.An INTRODUCTION In a recent study, Logan et al. (1991) demonstrated that native speakers of Japanese could be trained to im- prove their perception of the English/r/-/l/contrast by using a two-alternative forced-choice identification para- digm and a highly variable stimulus set. Moderate im- provements in identification accuracy and response latency were observed after only three weeks of laboratory train- ing. Performance also generalized to a limited extent to a new voice and to new words. The present paper addresses several issues concerning stimulus variability raised by Lo- gan et al.'s study. Their training materials included both talker variability and variability due to phonetic environ- ment. In the present investigation, the contribution of each of these sources of variability is considered separately. In experiment 1, a group of Japanese listeners was trained with a set of tokens produced by five talkers. The English phonemes /r/ and /1/ appeared
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Pisoni_Training_II_1993 - Training Japanese listeners to...

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