The overall goal of this project is to determine how listeners recognize words whose surface forms have been modified as a result of lawful phonological processes including English coronal place assimilation. This project will continue the development, testing and refinement of a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding this problem that emphasizes the importance of fine phonetic detail and the role of general auditory grouping mechanisms in processing. The work is organized around three aims: 1) to determine what role general auditory grouping mechanisms play in the processing of assimilated speech and what level of representation they operate on, (2) to determine how phonetic fine structure that has been shown to influence lexical processing is reflected in the categorization of assimilated speech, and (3) to determine what role different types of implicit linguistic knowledge play in the processing of assimilated items heard in context. These issues will be examined through a combination of off-line perceptual tasks (phoneme identification, AXB discrimination and categorical goodness rating tasks), on-line behavioral tasks (phoneme monitoring and form priming), and the use of techniques combining magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (ERP), and functional and structural MRI. Stimuli in these experiments will consist of a combination of synthesized speech, unmodified and digitally modified natural speech, and synthesized speech analogs observing carefully measured or controlled acoustic parameters. This work will provide insight into the relationship between linguistic competence, auditory scene analysis mechanisms and spoken word recognition. As basic research it provides a framework for understanding these processes that may be useful in characterizing and developing effective remediation for communicative disorders, and in developing automatic speech synthesis and recognition technologies that may serve people with a variety of perceptual and communicative disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Language and Communication Study Section (LCOM)
Program Officer
Shekim, Lana O
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Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
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Gow Jr, David W; Ahlfors, Seppo P (2017) Tracking reorganization of large-scale effective connectivity in aphasia following right hemisphere stroke. Brain Lang 170:12-17
Gow Jr, David W; Olson, Bruna B (2016) Using effective connectivity analyses to understand processing architecture: Response to commentaries by Samuel, Spivey and McQueen, Eisner and Norris. Lang Cogn Neurosci 31:869-875
Gow Jr, David W; Olson, Bruna B (2016) Sentential influences on acoustic-phonetic processing: A Granger causality analysis of multimodal imaging data. Lang Cogn Neurosci 31:841-855
Gow Jr, David W; Olson, Bruna B (2015) Lexical mediation of phonotactic frequency effects on spoken word recognition: A Granger causality analysis of MRI-constrained MEG/EEG data. J Mem Lang 82:41-55
Gow Jr, David W; Nied, A Conrad (2014) Rules from words: a dynamic neural basis for a lawful linguistic process. PLoS One 9:e86212
Rapp, Brenda; Caplan, David; Edwards, Susan et al. (2013) Neuroimaging in aphasia treatment research: issues of experimental design for relating cognitive to neural changes. Neuroimage 73:200-7
Gow Jr, David W; Caplan, David N (2012) New levels of language processing complexity and organization revealed by granger causation. Front Psychol 3:506
Gow Jr, David W (2012) The cortical organization of lexical knowledge: a dual lexicon model of spoken language processing. Brain Lang 121:273-88
Caplan, David; Gow, David (2012) Effects of tasks on BOLD signal responses to sentence contrasts: Review and commentary. Brain Lang 120:174-86
Gow Jr, David W; Keller, Corey J; Eskandar, Emad et al. (2009) Parallel versus serial processing dependencies in the perisylvian speech network: a Granger analysis of intracranial EEG data. Brain Lang 110:43-8

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