A data explanatory account of speech perception (and its limits)

A data explanatory account of speech perception (and its limits)
  • Speech Representation, Perception and Recognition

Associated CBMM Pages: 

Date Posted: 

February 8, 2017


Bob McMurray, U. Iowa

Abstract: One of the most challenging aspects of speech perception is the rampant variability in the signal. One consequence of this variability is that purely bottom up approaches to categorizing phonemes have not consistently been successful. Top down accounts--analogous to predictive coding in vision--may offer more leverage.  Drawing on phonetic analyses, computational models and behavioral experiments I suggest that if listeners recode incoming acoustic information relative to expectations, this variability can largely be explained away, allowing for much more robust categorization.  Predicts of this account are tested with ERP studies and studies of anticipatory processing.  But, this account may also have limits.  Eye-tracking studies on the timecourse of cue integration, and behavioral studies of categorization suggest phenomena that do not fall neatly under this rubric.