Reconsidering commonly used stimuli in speech perception experiments

Matthew B. Winn, Richard A. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper examines some commonly used stimuli in speech perception experiments and raises questions about their use, or about the interpretations of previous results. The takeaway messages are: 1) the Hillenbrand vowels represent a particular dialect rather than a gold standard, and English vowels contain spectral dynamics that have been largely underappreciated, 2) the /ɑ/ context is very common but not clearly superior as a context for testing consonant perception, 3) /ɑ/ is particularly problematic when testing voice-onset-time perception because it introduces strong confounds in the formant transitions, 4) /dɑ/ is grossly overrepresented in neurophysiological studies and yet is insufficient as a generalized proxy for "speech perception,"and 5) digit tests and matrix sentences including the coordinate response measure are systematically insensitive to important patterns in speech perception. Each of these stimulus sets and concepts is described with careful attention to their unique value and also cases where they might be misunderstood or over-interpreted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1394-1403
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

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© 2022 Acoustical Society of America.

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