Rapid Serial Auditory Presentation: A New Measure of Statistical Learning in Speech Segmentation

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Abstract

The Rapid Serial Visual Presentation procedure is a method widely used in visual perception research. In this paper we propose an adaptation of this method which can be used with auditory material and enables assessment of statistical learning in speech segmentation. Adult participants were exposed to an artificial speech stream composed of statistically defined trisyllabic nonsense words. They were subsequently instructed to perform a detection task in a Rapid Serial Auditory Presentation (RSAP) stream in which they had to detect a syllable in a short speech stream. Results showed that reaction times varied as a function of the statistical predictability of the syllable: second and third syllables of each word were responded to faster than first syllables. This result suggests that the RSAP procedure provides a reliable and sensitive indirect measure of auditory statistical learning.

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