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Constancy in the perception of speech when the level of room-reflections varies

By Anthony J. Watkins, Simon John Makin and Andrew P. Raimond

Abstract

A speech message played several metres from the listener in a room is usually heard to have much the same phonetic content as it does when played nearby, even though the different amounts of reflected sound make the temporal envelopes of these signals very different. To study this ‘constancy’ effect, listeners heard speech messages and speech-like sounds comprising 8 auditory-filter shaped noise-bands that had temporal envelopes corresponding to those in these filters when the speech message is played. The ‘contexts’ were “next you’ll get _to click on”, into which a “sir” or “stir” test word was inserted. These test words were from an 11-step continuum, formed by amplitude modulation. Listeners identified the test words appropriately, even in the 8-band conditions where the speech had a ‘robotic’ quality. Constancy was assessed by comparing the influence of room reflections on the test word across conditions where the context had either the same level of room reflections (i.e. from the same, far distance), or where it had a much lower level (i.e. from nearby). Constancy effects were obtained with both the natural- and the 8-band speech. Results are considered in terms of the degree of ‘matching’ between the context’s and test-word’s bands

Publisher: The Danavox Jubilee Foundation
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:17770
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