5 years ago

Effects of stimulus duration and vowel quality in cross-linguistic categorical perception of pitch directions

Ratree Wayland, Yiqing Zhu, Si Chen

by Si Chen, Yiqing Zhu, Ratree Wayland

We investigated categorical perception of rising and falling pitch contours by tonal and non-tonal listeners. Specifically, we determined minimum durations needed to perceive both contours and compared to those of production, how stimuli duration affects their perception, whether there is an intrinsic F0 effect, and how first language background, duration, directions of pitch and vowel quality interact with each other. Continua of fundamental frequency on different vowels with 9 duration values were created for identification and discrimination tasks. Less time is generally needed to effectively perceive a pitch direction than to produce it. Overall, tonal listeners’ perception is more categorical than non-tonal listeners. Stimuli duration plays a critical role for both groups, but tonal listeners showed a stronger duration effect, and may benefit more from the extra time in longer stimuli for context-coding, consistent with the multistore model of categorical perception. Within a certain range of semitones, tonal listeners also required shorter stimulus duration to perceive pitch direction changes than non-tonal listeners. Finally, vowel quality plays a limited role and only interacts with duration in perceiving falling pitch directions. These findings further our understanding on models of categorical perception, the relationship between speech perception and production, and the interaction between the perception of tones and vowel quality.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180656

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