UBC Theses and Dissertations
The role of prior experience in the integration of aerotactile speech information Keough, Megan
Perceivers receive a constant influx of information about the natural world via their different senses. In recent years, speech researchers have begun to situate speech more firmly within this multisensory experience, moving progressively away from the traditional focus on audition toward a more multisensory approach. In doing so, speech researchers have discovered that, in addition to audition and vision, many somatosenses are all highly relevant modalities for experiencing and/or conveying speech. The current dissertation focuses on the integration of aerotactile somatosensation—the feeling of speech-related airflow on the skin—and whether prior experience with specific speech information modulates aerotactile influence on visual and auditory speech cues to English stops. In Chapter 2, I used a two-alternative forced choice visuo-aerotactile perception task to show that adult English perceivers can integrate aerotactile speech information from a novel visual source. In Chapter 3, I used a two-alternative forced choice audio-aerotactile perception task to demonstrate integration occurs for this population even when the auditory and aerotactile speech cues are presented in a way that does not conform with previous prior experience in the natural world. Finally, in Chapter 4 I used a looking time procedure to test prelinguistic infants on their sensitivity to speech-related airflow during auditory perception and found no evidence that infant stop perception can be influenced by airflow before infants begin babbling. Taken together, these three experiments suggest that while adult perceivers can integrate aerotactile speech information with speech information from other modalities without specific prior experience with the cues, some developmental experience may be required for this ability to emerge.
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