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    Tailored perception: individuals’ speech and music perception strategies fit their perceptual abilities

    Jasmin, Kyle and Dick, Frederic and Holt, Lori and Tierney, Adam (2020) Tailored perception: individuals’ speech and music perception strategies fit their perceptual abilities. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 149 (5), pp. 914-934. ISSN 0096-3445.

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    Perception involves integration of multiple dimensions that often serve overlapping, redundant functions, e.g. pitch, duration, and amplitude in speech. Individuals tend to prioritize these dimensions differently (stable, individualized perceptual ‘strategies’) but the reason for this has remained unclear. Here we show that perceptual strategies relate to perceptual abilities. In a speech cue weighting experiment (trial N = 990), we first demonstrate that individuals with a severe deficit for pitch perception (congenital amusics; N=11) categorize linguistic stimuli similarly to controls (N=11) when the main distinguishing cue is duration, which they perceive normally. In contrast, in a prosodic task where pitch cues are the main distinguishing factor, we show that amusics place less importance on pitch and instead rely more on duration cues—even when pitch differences in the stimuli were large enough for amusics to discern. In a second experiment testing musical and prosodic phrase interpretation (N=16 amusics; 15 controls), we found that relying on duration allowed amusics to overcome their pitch deficits to perceive speech and music successfully. We conclude that auditory signals, because of their redundant nature, are robust to impairments for specific dimensions, and that optimal speech and music perception strategies depend not only on invariant acoustic dimensions (the physical signal), but on perceptual dimensions whose precision varies across individuals. Computational models of speech perception (indeed, all types of perception involving redundant cues e.g. vision and touch) should therefore aim to account for the precision of perceptual dimensions and characterize individuals as well as groups.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association 2019. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at the DOI cited above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): speech, music, amusia, pitch, duration, prosody
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Adam Tierney
    Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2019 10:22
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:53


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