On the perception of similarity among talkers

Remez, Robert E.; Fellowes, Jennifer M.; Nagel, Dalia S.

A listener who recognizes a talker notices characteristic attributes of the talker's speech despite the novelty of each utterance. Accounts of talker perception have often presumed that consistent aspects of an individual's speech, termed indexical properties, are ascribable to a talker's unique anatomy or consistent vocal posture distinct from acoustic correlates of phonetic contrasts. Accordingly, the perception of a talker is acknowledged to occur independently of the perception of a linguistic message. Alternatively, some studies suggest that attention to attributes of a talker includes indexical linguistic attributes conveyed in the articulation of consonants and vowels. This investigation sought direct evidence of attention to phonetic attributes of speech in perceiving talkers. Natural samples and sinewave replicas derived from them were used in three experiments assessing the perceptual properties of natural and sine-wave sentences; of temporally veridical and reversed natural and sine-wave sentences; and of an acoustic correlate of vocal tract scale to judgments of sine-wave talker similarity. The results revealed that the subjective similarity of individual talkers is preserved in the absence of natural vocal quality; and that local phonetic segmental attributes as well as global characteristics of speech can be exploited when listeners notice characteristics of talkers.



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Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

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Acoustical Society of America
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March 26, 2014