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Electrophysiological correlates of cross-linguistic speech perception in adult native English speakers

Rivera-Gaxiola, Maritza; (1998) Electrophysiological correlates of cross-linguistic speech perception in adult native English speakers. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This dissertation reports the event-related potential (ERP) correlates of CV-syllable perception from a cross-linguistic and a category goodness point of view. A synthesised labial /ba/ - dental /da/ - retroflex /Da/ continuum was used. The behavioural studies investigated a) how the stimuli were categorised; b) the overt discriminatory capabilities of Native English Speakers (NES) and Native Hindi Speakers (NHS) using 1.5 and 0.5 s inter-stimulus intervals and c) whether the stimuli were rated differently in terms of category goodness. NES categorised the continuum into two different categories, whilst NHS did so into three. NES overtly discriminated between /ba/s and /da/s but not within categories. NHS discriminated between /ba/s and /da/s, and between /da/s and /Da/s. Discrimination was not enhanced by using the shorter ISI of 0.5 sec. The syllables in the continuum had different goodness ratings. With the two ERP studies, the covert responses of NES to a native, a non-native, and a within-category contrasts were obtained. In the second study, stimuli were selected according to NES' category goodness judgements. An evaluation was made of whether ERPs mirrored the goodness judgements. The N1, P2, N2 and LPD components of the ERPs were analysed. Covert discrimination capacities were still present for all the conditions in these studies. Stimulus order asymmetries were also found in the ERPs. Acoustic sensitivities, categorical perception and category goodness contributed to the waveforms obtained. From a comparison of the ERP and behavioural data, it can be said that 'the brain perceives more than the mind can'. I therefore conclude that adults do not lose the capacity to perceive non-native contrasts. The implications this claim has for models of attention remain to be further explored. However, this study shows that a single neurophysiological measure is insufficient to evaluate subjects' capacities from a clinical nor from a theoretical point of view.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Electrophysiological correlates of cross-linguistic speech perception in adult native English speakers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Psychology; Health and environmental sciences; Speech perception
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109257
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