LingLang Lunch (10/1/2014): Sara Guediche (Brown University)

Flexible and adaptive processes in speech perception
<divThe perception of speech depends on mapping a highly variable and complex acoustic signal onto meaningful sounds and words. Yet, listeners perform this task with seemingly little effort. Accurate perception relies on the integration of both the acoustic speech signal as well as other sources of information derived from the context; identical sounds (e.g., ambiguous phonetic categories) can be heard differently depending on the context (e.g., lexical information). Perception is not only flexible enough to accommodate distortions in the speech signal but can also adapt to accommodate systematic distortions and deviations in the acoustic speech signal with exposure; for example, an unintelligible speaker with a strong foreign accent can become better understood over time. How does perception maintain such flexible and adaptive processing without affecting the stable long-term speech representations? I will present a few studies in which we examined the influence of different sources of information on perception and adaptive plasticity in order to gain insight into this question.