Spectral motion contrast as a speech context effect

Ningyuan Wang, Andrew J. Oxenham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Spectral contrast effects may help "normalize" the incoming sound and produce perceptual constancy in the face of the variable acoustics produced by different rooms, talkers, and backgrounds. Recent studies have concentrated on the after-effects produced by the long-term average power spectrum. The present study examined contrast effects based on spectral motion, analogous to visual-motion after-effects. In experiment 1, the existence of spectral-motion after-effects with word-length inducers was established by demonstrating that the identification of the direction of a target spectral glide was influenced by the spectral motion of a preceding inducer glide. In experiment 2, the target glide was replaced with a synthetic sine-wave speech sound, including a formant transition. The speech category boundary was shifted by the presence and direction of the inducer glide. Finally, in experiment 3, stimuli based on synthetic sine-wave speech sounds were used as both context and target stimuli to show that the spectral-motion after-effects could occur even with inducers with relatively short speech-like durations and small frequency excursions. The results suggest that spectral motion may play a complementary role to the long-term average power spectrum in inducing speech context effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1245
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

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© 2014 Acoustical Society of America.


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