ASA 128th Meeting - Austin, Texas - 1994 Nov 28 .. Dec 02

3aSP10. The effect of removing the fundamental component on the perception of vowel height in stimuli with varying F[sub 0].

Randy L. Diehl

Richard P. Fahey

Dept. of Psychol., Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX 78712

Using front vowels, Hoemeke and Diehl [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 93, 2422(A) (1993)] found that F[sub 1]-F[sub 0] Bark distance is a correlate of perceived vowel height. This finding is consistent with a suggestion that perceived vowel quality depends on the pattern of the neural ``place'' representation, rather than the absolute position of spectral peaks [Potter and Steinberg, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 22, 807--820 (1950)]. On this view, vowel perception should be disrupted if a critical component of the place pattern is removed. In the current study, listeners identified synthetic vowels varying between /(small capital eye)/ and /(cursive beta)/, with F[sub 0] varied orthogonally, in three conditions: in quiet, in quiet with the fundamental component removed, and in low-pass noise with the fundamental component removed. The results reported by Hoemeke and Diehl were replicated in all three conditions: Increasing F[sub 0] shifted the phoneme boundary towards the /(cursive beta)/ end point. There was no apparent decrease in the size of this effect in the conditions where the fundamental component was absent. Thus the role of F[sub 0] in vowel height perception is not as a formantlike peak in the place representation of the spectrum. [Work supported by NIDCD.]