Comparing speech and nonspeech context effects across timescales in coarticulatory contexts

Navin Viswanathan, Damian G. Kelty-Stephen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context effects are ubiquitous in speech perception and reflect the ability of human listeners to successfully perceive highly variable speech signals. In the study of how listeners compensate for coarticulatory variability, past studies have used similar effects speech and tone analogues of speech as strong support for speech-neutral, general auditory mechanisms for compensation for coarticulation. In this manuscript, we revisit compensation for coarticulation by replacing standard button-press responses with mouse-tracking responses and examining both standard geometric measures of uncertainty as well as newer information-theoretic measures that separate fast from slow mouse movements. We found that when our analyses were restricted to end-state responses, tones and speech contexts appeared to produce similar effects. However, a more detailed time-course analysis revealed systematic differences between speech and tone contexts such that listeners’ responses to speech contexts, but not to tone contexts, changed across the experimental session. Analyses of the time course of effects within trials using mouse tracking indicated that speech contexts elicited fewer x-position flips but more area under the curve (AUC) and maximum deviation (MD), and they did so in the slower portions of mouse-tracking movements. Our results indicate critical differences between the time course of speech and nonspeech context effects and that general auditory explanations, motivated by their apparent similarity, be reexamined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-324
Number of pages9
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


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