Listener Discrimination Between Age Differences in Two Speakers: A comparison task involving recordings of the voices of Terry Gross and Ira Glass from different years

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  • Often when listeners hear a speaker, they have an impression of the age of the speaker. The present research seeks to determine how well listeners can identify a speaker’s age when provided with two different recordings from one speaker. Previous research has asked participants to place a speaker’s age on a continuum or estimate the age of the speaker. In the present study, I use an AX task which asks listeners to determine whether the X recording is younger or older, from speech recorded from two speakers spanning approximately 20 years. I also asked a few questions about the listeners’ language background, age, and experience with populations over the age of 40. I analyze the discrimination responses of our listeners and find that listeners are not much better than chance in determining age differences in the recordings. I do find that as the number of years between recordings increases, participants are more accurate at determining the age difference between recordings. Listeners have specific ideas about what acoustic features they are using to perform their discrimination; however, these do not necessarily lead to more accurate discrimination.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International