On the flexibility of the sound-to-meaning mapping when listening to native and foreign-accented speech
EntityUAM. Departamento de Psicología Evolutiva y de la Educación
10.1016/j.cortex.2022.01.009Cortex 149 (2022): 1-15
Funded byThis work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (grant numbers: PSI2011-23033, PID2019-108092GA-I00)
ProjectGobierno de España. PSI2011-23033; Gobierno de España. PID2019-108092GA-I00
SubjectsForeign-accented speech; Lexical-semantic processing; N400; Priming; Sound-to-meaning mapping; Educación; Psicología
Rights© 2022 The Author(s)
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.
Extracting linguistic information from the speech signal is critical to successfully communicate with others. We usually carry out this sound-to-meaning mapping easily, but this process may be hampered under adverse listening conditions. Thus, exploring whether foreign accents might affect the sound-to-meaning mapping is particularly relevant, as interactions with these speakers are increasingly common in the globalized world. In this study, we conducted a cross-modal priming task, in which participants (N = 24) were presented with auditory primes uttered by a native or by a French foreign-accented speaker of Spanish, and with visual targets that had different degrees of relatedness to the prime: repeated, semantically related, or unrelated words. Behavioral and EEG measures were analyzed, and we found a significant relatedness effect (i.e., a processing advantage for repeated compared to related words, and for the latter compared to unrelated words). However, speakers' accents had no effect on the results. To further explore the potential effect of speakers' accent on the sound-to-meaning mapping, we conducted a second study, in which participants (N = 22) were presented with the same task, although in this case primes were uttered by the same native speaker as in the previous experiment, and by a German foreign-accented speaker with a stronger accent. We replicated the results observed in the first study. Taken together, our results show moderate evidence that speakers' accent does not affect the sound-to-meaning mapping, suggesting that this is a robust and flexible process that is not compromised by auditory variables related to speakers' characteristics.
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