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Authors: Riedinger, Miriam
Nagels, Arne
Werth, Alexander
Scharinger, Mathias
Title: Asymmetries in accessing vowel representations are driven by phonological and acoustic properties : neural and behavioral evidence from natural German minimal pairs
Online publication date: 2-Nov-2021
Language: english
Abstract: In vowel discrimination, commonly found discrimination patterns are directional asymmetries where discrimination is faster (or easier) if differing vowels are presented in a certain sequence compared to the reversed sequence. Different models of speech sound processing try to account for these asymmetries based on either phonetic or phonological properties. In this study, we tested and compared two of those often-discussed models, namely the Featurally Underspecified Lexicon (FUL) model (Lahiri and Reetz, 2002) and the Natural Referent Vowel (NRV) framework (Polka and Bohn, 2011). While most studies presented isolated vowels, we investigated a large stimulus set of German vowels in a more naturalistic setting within minimal pairs. We conducted an mismatch negativity (MMN) study in a passive and a reaction time study in an active oddball paradigm. In both data sets, we found directional asymmetries that can be explained by either phonological or phonetic theories. While behaviorally, the vowel discrimination was based on phonological properties, both tested models failed to explain the found neural patterns comprehensively. Therefore, we additionally examined the influence of a variety of articulatory, acoustical, and lexical factors (e.g., formant structure, intensity, duration, and frequency of occurrence) but also the influence of factors beyond the well-known (perceived loudness of vowels, degree of openness) in depth via multiple regression analyses. The analyses revealed that the perceptual factor of perceived loudness has a greater impact than considered in the literature and should be taken stronger into consideration when analyzing preattentive natural vowel processing.
DDC: 400 Sprache
400 Language
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Frontiers in human neuroscience
Pages or article number: 612345
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Publisher place: Lausanne
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 1662-5161
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.612345
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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