Perception and timing of acoustic distance

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  • The notion of acoustic distance figures into many aspects of phonetics, including phonological neighborhoods. A measurement of word-level acoustic distance useful for cognitive modeling must account for two aspects of perception: listener sensitivity to acoustic differences and the duration
    discrepancies between words. The present paper suggests the use of dynamic time warping as a way to measure how acoustic distance accumulates between words over time. The results of a distance rating task with synthesized vowels were used as a basis for selecting a mathematical function that best matched listener sensitivities. Additionally, the results of a reminder task with synthesized vowels were used to determine a just noticeable difference threshold for vowel duration. The results suggested that a distance function based on the 4.5-norm using a 30 ms radius for dynamic time warping best matched human behavior. A third analysis used these dynamic time warping configurations to model reaction times in an auditory lexical decision task and found that Euclidean distance and no temporal constraints on dynamic time warping best matched human behavior. These results are discussed in relation to spoken word recognition models, including how to assess the acoustic match between the speech signal and a word in the lexicon.

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    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution 4.0 International