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Re: Phoneme versus word recognition.

Hi Al

For a word superiority effect in speech, see the paper by a long-ago office mate of mine:

Ganong, William F. Phonetic categorization in auditory word perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance. Vol 6(1) Feb 1980, 110-125.

For a related phenomenon in music, we recently looked at people's ability to determine whether two tones had identical pitch or not. It turns out that people are much better at making this judgment when the  two tones in question come at the end of a melody, or even a tone sequence, than in isolation. Hence there is some top-down contextual effect operating. The reference is as follows:
Warrier, C.M. and Zatorre, R.J. (2002) Influence of tonal context and timbral variation on perception of pitch. Perception & Psychophysics, 64, 198-207.

(Al, you might remember this finding, seeing as you were on the student's examination committee!)


At 16:39 14/02/03 -0500, Al Bregman wrote:
Dear list ,

A graduate student at McGill has done some research with narrow band noises
of ambiguous pitch, showing that people are good at identifying melodies
made of these types of notes, even though they are poor at matching the
pitch of the individual notes.  I thought that there might be some relation
to the "word superiority effect" in reading (we have many references) and in
speech perception.  On the latter topic we have been able to find only one
article, Norris & Cutler (1988).  Does anyone know of other examples of the
superiority of recognizing a larger unit, even though there is a lot of
uncertainty about the component units?  Are there examples in music?

We would appreciate any information on this topic.

- Al
Albert S. Bregman, FRSC
Emeritus Professor
Dept. of Psychology, McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Ave.
Montreal, QC  Canada  H3A 1B1

Office Tel: (514) 398-6103, Fax -4896
Home Tel. & Fax: (514) 484-2592
E-mail: al.bregman@mcgill.ca

Please use new e-mail address from now on:


Robert J. Zatorre, Ph.D.
Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 University St.
Montreal, QC Canada H3A 2B4
phone: 1-514-398-8903
fax: 1-514-398-1338
web site: www.zlab.mcgill.ca