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2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium-Drew McLaughlin

Panel Title: “Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellowship: Truth, Experimentation, and Spectacle: An Interdisciplinary Approach” – Gumwood Room: Session 2f Thursday, May 18, 2017
MODERATOR: Paul Peppis

Drew McLaughlin “The Role of the Listener in Nonnative Speech Perception Researc”h
Both environmental noise (e.g., talkers in the background) and talker-related variation (e.g., accented speech) can create adverse listening conditions for speech communication. Individuals recruit additional cognitive, linguistic, or perceptual resources when faced with such challenges, and they vary in their ability to understand degraded speech. However, it is unclear whether listeners employ the same additional resources when encountering different types of challenging listening conditions. In the present study, we compare individuals’ ability on a variety of cognitive-linguistic skills—including vocabulary, selective attention, rhythm perception, and working memory—with transcription accuracy (i.e., intelligibility scores) of speech degraded by the addition of speech-shaped noise or multi-talker babble and/or talker variation. Initial analyses show that intelligibility scores across degradations of the same class (i.e., either environmental or talker-related) significantly correlate, but correlations of intelligibility scores across degradation classes are weaker. The relationship between intelligibility scores and cognitive-linguistic skills is similar, showing that while vocabulary and working memory correlate with multiple degradation types, rhythm perception only correlates with environmental degradations. Taken together, these results indicate that listeners may recruit different resources when faced with different classes of listening challenges.