Audiovisual cues benefit recognition of accented speech in noise but not perceptual adaptation.

Briony Banks, Emma Gowen, Kevin J Munro, Patti Adank

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Perceptual adaptation allows humans to recognize different varieties of accented speech. We investigated whether perceptual adaptation to accented speech is facilitated if listeners can see a speaker's facial and mouth movements. In Study 1, participants listened to sentences in a novel accent and underwent a period of training with audiovisual or audio-only speech cues, presented in quiet or in background noise. A control group also underwent training with visual-only (speech-reading) cues. We observed no significant difference in perceptual adaptation between any of the groups. To address a number of remaining questions, we carried out a second study using a different accent, speaker and experimental design, in which participants listened to sentences in a non-native (Japanese) accent with audiovisual or audio-only cues, without separate training. Participants' eye gaze was recorded to verify that they looked at the speaker's face during audiovisual trials. Recognition accuracy was significantly better for audiovisual than for audio-only stimuli; however, no statistical difference in perceptual adaptation was observed between the two modalities. Furthermore, Bayesian analysis suggested that the data supported the null hypothesis. Our results suggest that although the availability of visual speech cues may be immediately beneficial for recognition of unfamiliar accented speech in noise, it does not improve perceptual adaptation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • accented speech
    • audiovisual speech
    • multisensory perception
    • perceptual adaptation
    • speech perception


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