The downside of greater lexical influences: Selectively poorer speech perception in noise

Boji P.W. Lam*, Zilong Xie, Rachel Tessmer, Bharath Chandrasekarana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although lexical information influences phoneme perception, the extent to which reliance on lexical information enhances speech processing in challenging listening environments is unclear. We examined the extent to which individual differences in lexical influences on phonemic processing impact speech processing in maskers containing varying degrees of linguistic information (2-talker babble or pink noise). Method: Twenty-nine monolingual English speakers were instructed to ignore the lexical status of spoken syllables (e.g., gift vs. kift) and to only categorize the initial phonemes (/g/vs./k/). The same participants then performed speech recognition tasks in the presence of 2-talker babble or pink noise in audio-only and audiovisual conditions. Results: Individuals who demonstrated greater lexical influences on phonemic processing experienced greater speech processing difficulties in 2-talker babble than in pink noise. These selective difficulties were present across audio-only and audiovisual conditions. Conclusion: Individuals with greater reliance on lexical processes during speech perception exhibit impaired speech recognition in listening conditions in which competing talkers introduce audible linguistic interferences. Future studies should examine the locus of lexical influences/interferences on phonemic processing and speechin-speech processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1662-1673
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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