James V. Ralston
Emily R. Campbell
Alison D. Wright
Tracey L. Fisher
Dept. of Psychol., Ithaca College, 953 Danby Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850
Ten males in each of three age groups (M=12 years, M=22 years, M=74 years, respectively) were recorded while reading lists of 16 words and 16 sentences. The words and sentences were digitized, segmented, and saved on disk. In one experiment, a sample of the words was presented in random order to listeners who judged the age of the speakers. Listeners overestimated the ages of the young voices by 1 year, overestimated the age of the college-age voices by about 9 years, and underestimated the age of the elder voices by almost 20 years. An assimilation effect was also observed, such that age estimates of voices were shifted toward the ages of speakers on the previous trial. Finally, there was a significant correlation between age estimates and the duration of the words. A second experiment utilizing the same methods with isolated sentences revealed smaller estimation errors and smaller assimilation effects. These results, as well as those from ongoing experiments, will be discussed in light of their basic and applied significance.