Volume 126, Issue 1, July 2009
Index of content:
- SPEECH PERCEPTION 
126(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3143785View Description Hide Description
The multiband product rule, also known as band-independence, is a basic assumption of articulation index and its extension, the speech intelligibility index. Previously Fletcher showed its validity for a balanced mix of 20% consonant-vowel (CV), 20% vowel-consonant (VC), and 60% consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) sounds. This study repeats Miller and Nicely’s version of the hi-/lo-pass experiment with minor changes to study band-independence for the 16 Miller–Nicely consonants. The cut-off frequencies are chosen such that the basilar membrane is evenly divided into 12 segments from 250 to 8000 Hz with the high-pass and low-pass filters sharing the same six cut-off frequencies in the middle. Results show that the multiband product rule is statistically valid for consonants on average. It also applies to subgroups of consonants, such as stops and fricatives, which are characterized by a flat distribution of speech cues along the frequency. It fails for individual consonants.
126(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3139899View Description Hide Description
Although listeners are able to decode the underlying emotions embedded in acoustical laughter sounds, little is known about the acoustical cues that differentiate between the emotions. This study investigated the acoustical correlates of laughter expressing four different emotions: joy, tickling, taunting, and schadenfreude. Analysis of 43 acoustic parameters showed that the four emotions could be accurately discriminated on the basis of a small parameter set. Vowel quality contributed only minimally to emotional differentiation whereas prosodic parameters were more effective. Emotions are expressed by similar prosodic parameters in both laughter and speech.
126(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3129127View Description Hide Description
Two artificial-language learning experiments directly compared English, French, and Dutch listeners’ use of suprasegmentalcues for continuous-speech segmentation. In both experiments, listeners heard unbroken sequences of consonant-vowel syllables, composed of recurring three- and four-syllable “words.” These words were demarcated by (a) no cue other than transitional probabilities induced by their recurrence, (b) a consistent left-edge cue, or (c) a consistent right-edge cue. Experiment 1 examined a vowel lengthening cue. All three listener groups benefited from this cue in right-edge position; none benefited from it in left-edge position. Experiment 2 examined a pitch-movement cue. English listeners used this cue in left-edge position, French listeners used it in right-edge position, and Dutch listeners used it in both positions. These findings are interpreted as evidence of both language-universal and language-specific effects. Final lengthening is a language-universal effect expressing a more general (non-linguistic) mechanism. Pitch movement expresses prominence which has characteristically different placements across languages: typically at right edges in French, but at left edges in English and Dutch. Finally, stress realization in English versus Dutch encourages greater attention to suprasegmental variation by Dutch than by English listeners, allowing Dutch listeners to benefit from an informative pitch-movement cue even in an uncharacteristic position.
126(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3129508View Description Hide Description
Research shows that noise and phonetic attributes influence the degree to which auditory and visual modalities are used in audio-visual speech perception (AVSP). Research has, however, mainly focused on white noise and single phonetic attributes, thus neglecting the more common babble noise and possible interactions between phonetic attributes. This study explores whether white and babble noise differentially influence AVSP and whether these differences depend on phonetic attributes. White and babble noise of 0 and signal-to-noise ratio were added to congruent and incongruent audio-visual stop consonant-vowel stimuli. The audio (A) and video (V) of incongruent stimuli differed either in place of articulation (POA) or voicing. Responses from 15 young adults show that, compared to white noise, babble resulted in more audio responses for POA stimuli, and fewer for voicing stimuli. Voiced syllables received more audio responses than voiceless syllables. Results can be attributed to discrepancies in the acoustic spectra of both the noise and speech target. Voiced consonants may be more auditorily salient than voiceless consonants which are more spectrally similar to white noise. Visual cues contribute to identification of voicing, but only if the POA is visually salient and auditorily susceptible to the noise type.