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Modest, reliable spectral peaks in preceding sounds influence vowel perception
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When a spectral property is reliable across an acoustic context and subsequent vowel target, perception deemphasizes this cue and shifts toward less predictable, more informative cues. This phenomenon (auditory perceptual calibration) has been demonstrated for reliable spectral peaks +20 dB or larger, but psychoacoustic findings predict sensitivity to more modest spectral peaks. Listeners identified vowel targets following a sentence with a reliable +2 to +15 dB spectral peak centered at F 2 of the vowel. Vowel identifications weighted F 2 significantly less when reliable peaks were at least +5 dB. Results demonstrate high sensitivity to reliable acoustic properties in the sensory environment.
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