The present study examined the plasticity of the human perceptual system by means of laboratory training procedures designed to modify the perception of the voicing dimension in synthetic speech stimuli. Although the results of earlier laboratory training studies have been ambiguous, recently Pisoni, Aslin, Perey, and Hennessy (1982) have succeeded in altering the perception of labial stop consonants from a two-way contrast in voicing to a three-way contrast. The present study extended these initial results by demonstrating that experience gained from discrimination training on one place of articulation (e.g., labial) can be transferred to another place of articulation (e.g., alveolar) without any additional training on the specific test stimuli. Quantitative analyses of the identification functions showed that the new perceptual categories were stable and displayed well-defined labeling boundaries between categories. Taken together with the earlier findings, these results imply a greater degree of plasticity in the adult speech processing system than has generally been acknowledged in past studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Sensory Systems