Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

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Production Effects on Perception: How Learning to Produce Sound Changes Auditory Perception
by Bixby, Keturah Naomi, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2017, 181; 10623331
Abstract (Summary)

The relationship between producing and perceiving sounds is tightly correlated in the domains of language and music. Any time someone speaks, they immediately hear what they said, and when someone sings or plays a musical instrument, they hear music. However, it is unclear how producing sound changes auditory perception: is any perceptual improvement merely the result of hearing and attending to the acoustic signal, or can these improvements be facilitated by motor production itself? The research question is whether learning to produce sound benefits auditory perception in language or music. Given that speech categories are highly entrenched in adults’ native languages, with perception and production tightly linked, this question was examined in the context of second-language (L2) learning. Two experiments explored how learning to produce new L2 phonetic contrasts improves category learning and category generalization. Experiment 1 on category learning found that when participants learned to produce before learning to perceive a new phonetic contrast, their category perception improved compared to participants with the same auditory experience but without training in production. Experiment 2 on category generalization found a similar benefit to category learning, but did not show generalization, so the effect of production learning on category generalization is unknown. Two further experiments were conducted in the domain of music. In contrast to language, it is possible to break the tight linkage between perception (phonetic categories) and production (vocal articulation) in music. Non-musicians have no model for mapping their actions to musical sounds, allowing a glimpse into the role production plays in learning about those sounds. Non-musicians learned to play a simple novel instrument to determine whether their perception was better than non-musicians with matched auditory experience but no production experience. No difference in perceptual sensitivity was seen for pitch discrimination between groups in either experiment, nor was there better memory for interval stimuli in the production group. However, producers had better memory for studied melodies than perceivers. Together, these results suggest production may improve perception, but only when it is an informative cue: learning in the domain of production is required before it can have an effect on perception.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Aslin, Richard
Commitee: Jacobs, Robert, McDonough, Joyce, Tanenhaus, Michael, Temperley, David
School: University of Rochester
Department: School of Arts and Sciences
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Music, Perception, Production, Speech
Publication Number: 10623331
ISBN: 9780355395549
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