Familiarisation conditions and the mechanisms that underlie improved recognition of dysarthric speech

Stephanie A. Borrie, Megan J. McAuliffe, Julie Liss, Cecilia Kirk, Gregory A. O'Beirne, Tim Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This investigation evaluated the familiarisation conditions required to promote subsequent and more long-term improvements in perceptual processing of dysarthric speech and examined the cognitive-perceptual processes that may underlie the experience-evoked learning response. Sixty listeners were randomly allocated to one of three experimental groups and were familiarised under the following conditions: (1) neurologically intact speech (control), (2) dysarthric speech (passive familiarisation), and (3) dysarthric speech coupled with written information (explicit familiarisation). All listeners completed an identical phrase transcription task immediately following familiarisation, and listeners familiarised with dysarthric speech also completed a follow-up phrase transcription task 7 days later. Listener transcripts were analysed for a measure of intelligibility (percent words correct), as well as error patterns at a segmental (percent syllable resemblance) and suprasegmental (lexical boundary errors) level of perceptual processing. The study found that intelligibility scores for listeners familiarised with dysarthric speech were significantly greater than those of the control group, with the greatest and most robust gains afforded by the explicit familiarisation condition. Relative perceptual gains in detecting phonetic and prosodic aspects of the signal varied dependent upon the familiarisation conditions, suggesting that passive familiarisation may recruit a different learning mechanism to that of a more explicit familiarisation experience involving supplementary written information. It appears that decisions regarding resource allocation during subsequent processing of dysarthric speech may be informed by the information afforded by the conditions of familiarisation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1055
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Dysarthria
  • Perceptual learning
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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