ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

1pSC3. Speech perception, memory, and cognition: Implications for automatic speech recognition systems.

Patricia Kuhl

Dept. of Speech and Hear. Sci., Univ. of Washington, WJ-10, Seattle, WA 98195

Recent experiments suggest that people form perceptual representations for speech as a result of experience with a specific language. These representations are argued to take the form of perceptual maps stored in memory that specify distances between speech stimuli. This point will be illustrated with data from cross-language experiments on American and Japanese adults using the segments /r/ and /l/. The results show that the underlying perceptual space encompassing /r/ and /l/ varies greatly in American and Japanese listeners---their perceptual maps are dramatically different. Cross-cultural developmental studies show that language-specific speech representations are present early in life and differ in infants reared in different linguistic environments. Further work suggests that the perceptual maps resulting from speech experience not only influence auditory speech perception, but influence auditory-visual speech perception in adults and speech production in infants. Implications for automatic speech recognition systems will be discussed. [Work supported by NIH.]