Exciting new research has promoted a vital sub-field of speech perception research concerned with describing the function of categories in the development and maintenance of language- appropriate perception. Recent work has suggested that at least part of the formation and function of phonetic categories is a result of general perceptual categorization mechanisms not specific to speech or language. Thus, there now appears to be opportunity for an integration of general categorization research with work on first and second language acquisition. Unfortunately, much of what is known about perceptual categorization has been derived from examination of categories that are fundamentally different from phonetic categories. Moreover, it is empirically difficult to examine influences of categorization using speech stimuli because it is extraordinarily difficult to determine a detailed history of experience. Pilot work by the PIs has suggested the utility of using complex non- speech sounds in probing the learning mechanisms that drive auditory categorization. These sounds can be synthesized to mimic complexities of phonetic categories and distributions of stimulus presentation can be theorectically derived to model aspects of phonetic categories while maintaining full experimental control over experience. The main goals of this work are threefold. The first goal is to provide a detailed database of the formation and structure of complex auditory categories. There is a dearth of research in this area and the proposed work will be useful in developing a taxonomy of auditory learning and testing extant models of general perceptual categorization (which have been based primarily on data from visual tasks). Experiments using explicit and incidental learning procedures will map the development of categorical response structures as listeners gain experience with novel stimuli. The second goal is to compare the resulting structures that arise from these categorization tasks to structures typical of speech categories such as categorical perception and the """"""""perceptual magnet"""""""" effect. The third goal is to develop efficient methods of exposure and training to teach non-native contrasts to second-language learners. Learning the sound contrasts for a non-native language is an extremely difficult task. Exposing the mechanisms of complex category learning could illuminate potential aids to training individuals to discriminate these complex speech categories. These aids could extend easily to other complex learning tasks such as musical training, acoustic warning systems or auditory data displays.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-3 (01))
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Shekim, Lana O
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Carnegie-Mellon University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Holt, Lori L; Tierney, Adam T; Guerra, Giada et al. (2018) Dimension-selective attention as a possible driver of dynamic, context-dependent re-weighting in speech processing. Hear Res 366:50-64
Gabay, Yafit; Holt, Lori L (2018) Short-term adaptation to sound statistics is unimpaired in developmental dyslexia. PLoS One 13:e0198146
Roark, Casey L; Holt, Lori L (2018) Task and distribution sampling affect auditory category learning. Atten Percept Psychophys 80:1804-1822
Zhang, Xujin; Holt, Lori L (2018) Simultaneous tracking of coevolving distributional regularities in speech. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 44:1760-1779
Lehet, Matthew; Holt, Lori L (2017) Dimension-Based Statistical Learning Affects Both Speech Perception and Production. Cogn Sci 41 Suppl 4:885-912
Guediche, Sara; Fiez, Julie A; Holt, Lori L (2016) Adaptive plasticity in speech perception: Effects of external information and internal predictions. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 42:1048-59
Schertz, Jessamyn; Cho, Taehong; Lotto, Andrew et al. (2016) Individual differences in perceptual adaptability of foreign sound categories. Atten Percept Psychophys 78:355-67
Schertz, Jessamyn; Cho, Taehong; Lotto, Andrew et al. (2015) Individual differences in phonetic cue use in production and perception of a non-native sound contrast. J Phon 52:183-204
Guediche, Sara; Holt, Lori L; Laurent, Patryk et al. (2015) Evidence for Cerebellar Contributions to Adaptive Plasticity in Speech Perception. Cereb Cortex 25:1867-77
Gabay, Yafit; Holt, Lori L (2015) Incidental learning of sound categories is impaired in developmental dyslexia. Cortex 73:131-43

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