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ERIC Number: EJ1008686
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Inequality across Consonantal Contrasts in Speech Perception: Evidence from Mismatch Negativity
Cornell, Sonia A.; Lahiri, Aditi; Eulitz, Carsten
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v39 n3 p757-772 Jun 2013
The precise structure of speech sound representations is still a matter of debate. In the present neurobiological study, we compared predictions about differential sensitivity to speech contrasts between models that assume full specification of all phonological information in the mental lexicon with those assuming sparse representations (only contrastive or otherwise not predictable information is stored). In a passive oddball paradigm, we studied the contrast sensitivity as reflected in the mismatch negativity (MMN) response to changes in the manner of articulation, as well as place of articulation of consonants in intervocalic positions of nonwords (manner of articulation: [edi - eni], [ezi - eni]; place of articulation: [edi - egi]). Models that assume full specification of all phonological information in the mental lexicon posit equal MMNs within each contrast (symmetric MMNs), that is, changes from standard [edi] to deviant [eni] elicit a similar MMN response as changes from standard [eni] to deviant [edi]. In contrast, models that assume sparse representations predict that only the [ezi] - [eni] reversals will evoke symmetric MMNs because of their conflicting fully specified manner features. Asymmetric MMNs are predicted, however, for the reversals of [edi] - [eni] and [edi] - [egi] because either a manner or place property in each pair is not fully specified in the mental lexicon. Our results show a pattern of symmetric and asymmetric MMNs that is in line with predictions of the featurally underspecified lexicon model that assumes sparse phonological representations. We conclude that the brain refers to underspecified phonological representations during speech perception. (Contains 4 tables, 8 figures, and 2 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A