This week, Wei Zhang will be presenting on Jasmin et al.’s 2022 paper “Short-term perceptual reweighting in suprasegmental categorization.” The paper is available in the usual places, and the abstract is below:

Segmental speech units such as phonemes are described as multidimensional categories whose perception involves contributions from multiple acoustic input dimensions, and the relative perceptual weights of these dimensions respond dynamically to context. For example, when speech is altered to create an “accent” in which two acoustic dimensions are correlated in a manner opposite that of long-term experience, the dimension that carries less perceptual weight is down-weighted to contribute less in category decisions. It remains unclear, however, whether this short-term reweighting extends to perception of suprasegmental features that span multiple phonemes, syllables, or words, in part because it has remained debatable whether suprasegmental features are perceived categorically. Here, we investigated the relative contribution of two acoustic dimensions to word emphasis. Participants categorized instances of a two-word phrase pronounced with typical covariation of fundamental frequency (F0) and duration, and in the context of an artifcial “accent” in which F0 and duration (established in prior research on English speech as “primary” and “secondary” dimensions, respectively) covaried atypically. When categorizing “accented” speech, listeners rapidly down-weighted the secondary dimension (duration). This result indicates that listeners continually track short-term regularities across speech input and dynamically adjust the weight of acoustic evidence for suprasegmental decisions. Thus, dimension-based statistical learning appears to be a widespread phenomenon in speech perception extending to both segmental and suprasegmental categorization.

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