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Lexically guided perceptual tuning of internal phonetic category structure
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Listeners use lexical information to retune the mapping between the acoustic signal and speech sound representations, resulting in changes to phonetic category boundaries. Other research shows that phonetic categories have a rich internal structure; within-category variation is represented in a graded fashion. The current work examined whether lexically informed perceptual learning promotes a comprehensive reorganization of internal category structure. The results showed a reorganization of internal structure for one but not both of the examined categories, which may reflect an attenuation of learning for distributions with extensive category overlap. This finding points towards potential input-driven constraints on lexically guided phonetic retuning.
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