Simple and contingent adaptation effects for place of articulation in stop consonants

James R. Sawusch, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Experiments on selective adaptation have shown that the locus of the phonetic category boundary between two segments shifts after repetitive listening to an adapting stimulus. Theoretical interpretations of these results have proposed that adaptation occurs either entirely at an auditory level of processing or at both auditory and more abstract phonetic levels. The present experiment employed two alternating stimuli as adaptors in an attempt to distinguish between these two possible explanations. Two alternating stimuli were used as adaptors in order to test for the presence of contingent effects and to compare these results to simple adaptation using only a single adaptor. Two synthetic CV series with different vowels that varied the place of articulation of the consonant were employed. When two alternating adaptors were used, contingent adaptation effects were observed for the two stimulus series. The direction of the shifts in each series was governed by the vowel context of the adapting syllables. Using the single adaptor data, a comparison was made between the additive effects of the single adaptors and their combined effects when presented in alternating pairs. With voiced adaptors, only within-series adaptation effects were found, and these data were consistent with a on,level model of selective adaptation. However, for the voiceless adaptors, both within- and cross-series adaptation effects were found, suggesting the possible presence of two levels of adaptation to place of articulation. Further, the contingent adaptation effects with the voiceless adaptors seemed to be the result of the additive effects of the two alternating adaptors. This result indicates that previously reported contingent adaptation results may also reflect the net vowel specific adaptation effects after cancellation of other, nonvowel dependent effects and that caution is needed in interpreting such results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)

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