Listeners are highly proficient at adapting to the speech of a novel talker. Various mechanisms may underlie such adaptation, and at differing time courses. These may include phonetic cue calibration (e.g., McMurray & Jongman, 2012), phonetic covariation (Chodroff & Wilson, 2018), or general auditory contrast, particularly at short timescales (e.g., Lotto & Kluender, 1998). Under the cue calibration account, listeners adapt by estimating a talker-specific average for each phonetic cue or dimension; under the cue covariation account, listeners adapt by exploiting consistencies in how the realization of speech sounds varies across talkers; under the auditory contrast account, adaptation is not talker-specific, but results instead from (partial) masking of spectral components shared by adjacent stimuli. To distinguish between these mechanisms, we investigate perceptual adaptation to talker-specific sibilant fricatives at short and long timescales. In rapid adaptation, our findings indicate a strong role of general auditory mechanisms; however, a longer period between talker-specific exposure and test could reveal secondary, phonetic-based learning mechanisms.
Antje Mefferd (Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center)
Jonah Katz (West Virginia University)
Michele Gubian (IPS, LMU Munich)
Nancy C. Kula (University of Essex)