Effects of age and divided attention on listeners' comprehension of synthesized speech

Kathryn D.R. Drager, Joe E. Reichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Research has demonstrated synthesized speech can be adequately understood under ideal conditions, although listeners' comprehension of synthesized speech has received less attention than has intelligibility. However, little is known about the comprehensibility of synthesized speech under less than ideal conditions, such as when the listener's attention is divided. Further, little is known about older adults' ability to comprehend synthesized speech. This study investigated younger and older listeners' comprehension of synthesized discourse under focused attention and divided attention conditions. Results demonstrated that synthesized discourse can be adequately comprehended by young and older adults in a focused attention condition. However, when attention is divided, listeners were able to comprehend significantly less of the synthesized discourse than the natural discourse. This effect was greater for older adult listeners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by an award from the Bryng Bryngelson Communication Disorders Research Fund at the University of Minnesota and by a Doctoral Dissertation Special Grant, Graduate School, University of Minnesota. The study was conducted while the first author was a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Minnesota. Data analysis and manuscript preparation were supported by the Department of Communication Disorders at the Pennsylvania State University. Portions of this article were presented at the 1998 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, San Antonio, TX.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
  • Comprehension
  • Divided attention
  • Older adults
  • Synthesized speech


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