The speakers’ accent shapes the listeners’ phonological predictions during speech perception

TitleThe speakers’ accent shapes the listeners’ phonological predictions during speech perception
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBrunellière A, Soto-Faraco S
JournalBrain and Language
Volume125
Pagination82-93
KeywordsEvent-related potentials, Phonological variability, Predictive mechanisms, Spoken-word comprehension
Abstract

This study investigates the specificity of predictive coding in spoken word comprehension using event-related potentials (ERPs). We measured word-evoked ERPs in Catalan speakers listening to semantically constraining sentences produced in their native regional accent (Experiment 1) or in a non-native accent (Experiment 2). Semantically anomalous words produced long-lasting negative shift (N400) starting as early as 250 ms, thus reflecting phonological as well as semantic mismatch. Semantically expected but phonologically unexpected (non-native forms embedded in a native context) produced only an early (∼250 ms) negative difference. In contrast, this phonological expectancy effect failed for native albeit phonologically unexpected target words embedded in a non-native context. These results suggest phonologically precise expectations when operating over native input, whilst phonologically less specified expectations in a non-native context. Our findings shed light on contextual influence during word recognition, suggesting that word form prediction based on context is sensitive and adaptive to phonological variability.

DOIhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2013.01.007