Learning unfamiliar voices

Gordon E. Legge, Carla Grosmann, Christina M. Pieper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


447 undergraduates listened to a series of recorded voice samples obtained from unfamiliar speakers and were then given a 2-alternative forced-choice recognition test. Recognition performance improved when the voice-sample duration was increased from 6 to 60 sec, when the target set size was reduced from 20 to 5 voices, and when slides of faces provided context information. Recognition performance was not significantly different for retention intervals of 15 min and 10 days, and voice learning was inferior to face learning. Data indicate that poor performance in voice recognition is not solely a function of encoding but at least partially a failure of retrieval. Face learning may be easier than voice learning because people rely more heavily on faces for identifying people and hence have developed more efficient means for encoding face information. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1984


  • context information, voice recognition performance, college students
  • set size &
  • unfamiliar speaker's voice sample duration &


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