Social Expectation Improves Speech Perception in Noise

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104 Scopus citations


Listeners’ use of social information during speech perception was investigated by measuring transcription accuracy of Chinese-accented speech in noise while listeners were presented with a congruent Chinese face, an incongruent Caucasian face, or an uninformative silhouette. When listeners were presented with a Chinese face they transcribed more accurately than when presented with the Caucasian face. This difference existed both for listeners with a relatively high level of experience and for listeners with a relatively low level of experience with Chinese-accented English. Overall, these results are inconsistent with a model of social speech perception in which listener bias reduces attendance to the acoustic signal. These results are generally consistent with exemplar models of socially indexed speech perception predicting that activation of a social category will raise base activation levels of socially appropriate episodic traces, but the similar performance of more and less experienced listeners suggests the need for a more nuanced view with a role for both detailed experience and listener stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-521
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage and Speech
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.


  • Speech perception
  • exemplar models
  • sociophonetics
  • variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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