Belief shift or only facilitation: How semantic expectancy affects processing of speech degraded by background noise

Katherine M. Simeon*, Klinton Bicknell, Tina M. Grieco-Calub

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Individuals use semantic expectancy - applying conceptual and linguistic knowledge to speech input - to improve the accuracy and speed of language comprehension. This study tested how adults use semantic expectancy in quiet and in the presence of speech-shaped broadband noise at -7 and -12 dB signal-to-noise ratio. Twenty-four adults (22.1 ± 3.6 years, mean ±SD) were tested on a four-alternative-forced-choice task whereby they listened to sentences and were instructed to select an image matching the sentence-final word. The semantic expectancy of the sentences was unrelated to (neutral), congruent with, or conflicting with the acoustic target. Congruent expectancy improved accuracy and conflicting expectancy decreased accuracy relative to neutral, consistent with a theory where expectancy shifts beliefs toward likely words and away from unlikely words. Additionally, there were no significant interactions of expectancy and noise level when analyzed in log-odds, supporting the predictions of ideal observer models of speech perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume9
Issue numberFEB
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 8 2018

Keywords

  • Background noise
  • Ideal observer
  • Lexical processing
  • Semantic expectancy
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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