Learning to recognize talkers from natural, sinewave, and reversed speech samples

Sonya M. Sheffert, Jennifer M. Fellowes, David B. Pisoni, Robert E. Remez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


In 5 experiments, the authors investigated how listeners learn to recognize unfamiliar talkers and how experience with specific utterances generalizes to novel instances. Listeners were trained over several days to identify 10 talkers from natural, sinewave, or reversed speech sentences. The sinewave signals preserved phonetic and some suprasegmental properties while eliminating natural vocal quality. In contrast, the reversed speech signals preserved vocal quality while distorting temporally based phonetic properties. The training results indicate that listeners learned to identify talkers even from acoustic signals lacking natural vocal quality. Generalization performance varied across the different signals and depended on the salience of phonetic information. The results suggest similarities in the phonetic attributes underlying talker recognition and phonetic perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1469
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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