A unified account of categorical effects in phonetic perception
A statistical model that explains both the strong categorical effects in perception of consonants, and the very weak effects in perception of vowels.
Infant-directed speech is consistent with teaching
Why do we speak differently to infants than to adults? To help answer this question, Naomi Feldman offers a formal theory of phonetic teaching and learning.
Why discourse affects speakers' choice of referring expressions
A probalistic model of the choice between using a pronoun or some other referring expression.
A role for the developing lexicon in phonetic category acquisition
Bayesian models and artificial language learning tasks show that infant acquiosition of phonetic categories can be helpfully constrained by feedback from word segmentation.
Word-level information influences phonetic learning in adults and infants
How do infants learn the phonetic categories of their language? The words they occur can provide a useful cue, shows Naomi Feldman.
The influence of categories on perception: Explaining the perceptual magnet effect as optimal statistical inference
Naomi Feldman develops a Bayesian account of the perceptual magnet effect.
A variety of studies have demonstrated that organizing stimuli into categories can affect the way the stimuli are perceived. We explore the influence of categories on perception through one such phenomenon, the perceptual magnet effect, in which discriminability between vowels is reduced near prototypical vowel sounds. We present a Bayesian model to explain why this reduced discriminability might occur: It arises as a consequence of optimally solving the statistical problem of perception in noise. In the optimal solution to this problem, listeners’ perception is biased toward phonetic category means because they use knowledge of these categories to guide their inferences about speakers’ target productions. Simulations show that model predictions closely correspond to previously published human data, and novel experimental results provide evidence for the predicted link between perceptual warping and noise. The model unifies several previous accounts of the perceptual magnet effect and provides a framework for exploring categorical effects in other domains.