Semantic focus mediates pitch auditory feedback control in phrasal prosody

Allison I. Hilger*, Jennifer Cole, Charles Larson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the effect of semantic focus on pitch auditory feedback control in the production of phrasal prosody through an experiment using pitch-shifted auditory feedback. We hypothesized that pitch-shift responses would be mediated by semantic focus because highly informative focus types, such as corrective focus, impose more specific constraints on the prosodic form of a phrase and require greater consistency in the production of pitch excursions compared to sentences with no such focus elements. Twenty-eight participants produced sentences with and without corrective focus while their auditory feedback was briefly and unexpectedly perturbed in pitch by +/−200 cents at the start of the sentence. The magnitude and latency of the reflexive pitch-shift responses were measured as a reflection of auditory feedback control. Our results matched our prediction that corrective focus would elicit larger pitch-shift responses, supporting our hypothesis that auditory feedback control is mediated by semantic focus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • auditory feedback
  • feedback perturbations
  • intonation
  • pitch shifts
  • Prosody
  • semantic focus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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