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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Speech perception is conventionally defined as the perceptual and cognitive processes leading to the discrimination, identification, and interpretation of speech sounds. However, to gain a broader understanding of the concept, such processes must be investigated relative to their interaction with long-term knowledge—lexical information in particular. This chapter starts with a review of some of the fundamental characteristics of the speech signal and by an evaluation of the constraints that these characteristics impose on modeling speech perception. Long-standing questions are then discussed in the context of classic and more recent theories. Recurrent themes include the following: (1) the involvement of articulatory knowledge in speech perception, (2) the existence of a speech-specific mode of auditory processing, (3) the multimodal nature of speech perception, (4) the relative contribution of bottom-up and top-down flows of information to sound categorization, (5) the impact of the auditory environment on speech perception in infancy, and (6) the flexibility of the speech system in the face of novel or atypical input.

Keywords: coarticulation, phonemes, categorical perception, lexical access, segmentation, bottom-up, top-down, perceptual learning

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