The effect of talker variability on word recognition in preschool children.

B. O. Ryalls, D. B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


In a series of experiments, the authors investigated the effects of talker variability on children's word recognition. In Experiment 1, when stimuli were presented in the clear, 3- and 5-year-olds were less accurate at identifying words spoken by multiple talkers than those spoken by a single talker when the multiple-talker list was presented first. In Experiment 2, when words were presented in noise, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds again performed worse in the multiple-talker condition than in the single-talker condition, this time regardless of order; processing multiple talkers became easier with age. Experiment 3 showed that both children and adults were slower to repeat words from multiple-talker than those from single-talker lists. More important, children (but not adults) matched acoustic properties of the stimuli (specifically, duration). These results provide important new information about the development of talker normalization in speech perception and spoken word recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-452
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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