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Acoustic Characteristics of Stimuli, Back-Vowel Context, and Front-Vowel Context (Munson et al., 2012)

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posted on 01.05.2012, 00:00 by Benjamin Munson, Julie M. Johnson, Jan Edwards
Purpose This study examined whether experienced speech-language pathologists (SLPs) differ from inexperienced people in their perception of phonetic detail in children’s speech.
Method Twenty-one experienced SLPs and 21 inexperienced listeners participated in a series of tasks in which they used a visual–analog scale (VAS) to rate children’s natural productions of target /s/–/θ/, /t/–/k/, and /d/–/ɡ/ in word-initial position. Listeners rated the perceived distance between individual productions and ideal productions.
Results The experienced listeners' ratings differed from the inexperienced listeners' ratings in four ways: They had higher intrarater reliability, showed less bias toward a more frequent sound, and were more closely related to the acoustic characteristics of the children’s speech. In addition, the experienced listeners' responses were related to a different set of predictor variables.
Conclusion Results suggest that experience working as an SLP leads to better perception of phonetic detail in children’s speech. Limitations and future research are discussed.

Funding

This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant BCS0729277 to Benjamin Munson, by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 DC02932 and National Science Foundation Grant BCS0729140 to Jan Edwards, and in part by a core grant (P30HD03352) to the Waisman Center from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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