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      Can kiwis and koalas as cultural primes induce perceptual bias in Australian English speaking listeners?

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          The presence of culturally significant objects has been shown to induce biases in speech perception consistent with features of the dialect relevant to the object. Questions remain about the transferability of this effect to different dialect contexts, and the efficacy of the task in inducing the effect. This paper details an Australian-context experiment modelled on Hay and Drager’s ( 2010) New Zealand-context stuffed toy study. Seventy-five listeners heard spoken Australian English (AusE) phrases with phrase-final monosyllabic words containing either KIT, DRESS, or TRAP vowels. Each phrase was followed by audio presentation of a six-step synthesized vowel continuum, from New Zealand English (NZE)-like to exaggerated AusE-like tokens. Listeners attempted to match one of the synthesized variants to the speaker’s realization of the target vowel. Listeners were exposed to one of two priming conditions, established by stuffed toy kiwis (New Zealand) and stuffed toy koalas (Australia), or a control condition (no toy). Contrary to Hay and Drager ( 2010), token selections did not differ significantly between the New Zealand and Australian priming conditions. However, reversing the order of continuum presentation did significantly affect token selection for KIT vowels, raising questions about the task design itself. Results suggest that the influence of regional primes on speech perception may be more limited than previously thought.

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          Most cited references 37

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          2. Gradient and Visual Speaker Normalization in the Perception of Fricatives

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            Auditory–visual integration of talker gender in vowel perception

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              Social Expectation Improves Speech Perception in Noise.

               Kevin McGowan (2015)
              Listeners' use of social information during speech perception was investigated by measuring transcription accuracy of Chinese-accented speech in noise while listeners were presented with a congruent Chinese face, an incongruent Caucasian face, or an uninformative silhouette. When listeners were presented with a Chinese face they transcribed more accurately than when presented with the Caucasian face. This difference existed both for listeners with a relatively high level of experience and for listeners with a relatively low level of experience with Chinese-accented English. Overall, these results are inconsistent with a model of social speech perception in which listener bias reduces attendance to the acoustic signal. These results are generally consistent with exemplar models of socially indexed speech perception predicting that activation of a social category will raise base activation levels of socially appropriate episodic traces, but the similar performance of more and less experienced listeners suggests the need for a more nuanced view with a role for both detailed experience and listener stereotypes.

                Author and article information

                Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology
                Ubiquity Press
                09 April 2019
                : 10
                : 1
                [1 ]Centre for Language Sciences, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, AU
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See

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