Effects of dialect and talker variability on lexical recognition memory
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Linguistics Honors Theses; 2008
The current study investigated recognition memory for dialect variation in a recognition memory experiment with separate training and test phases. In the training phase, participants were asked to identify words spoken by three female talkers from the Midland dialect region and three female talkers from the Northern dialect region. In the test phase, participants listened to another set of words and were asked to indicate whether each word was from the training phase, “old,” or completely new, “new.” In this phase of the experiment, half of the words were “old,” having been previously introduced in the training phase, and half were “new,” not having been introduced in the training phase. Of the “old” words, one-third were repeated by the same talker, one-third were repeated by a different talker from the same dialect region, and one-third were repeated by a different talker from a different dialect region. Based on previous research, it was expected that, for each original dialect, participants would be the most accurate and quickest for the “old” words that were repeated by the same talker, the least accurate and slowest for the “old” words that were repeated by a different talker from a different dialect region, and somewhat in between for the “old” words repeated by a different talker from the same dialect region. The results of this study indicate that episodic memory traces of spoken words retain fine-grained surface details, as found in Goldinger (1996) and Palmeri et al. (1993), as responses to same-talker repetitions were generally more accurate and faster than responses to different-talker same-dialect and different-talker different-dialect repetitions. In addition, response time patterns suggest that both abstract lexical representations and episodic traces are stored in long-term memory and contribute to perception. Finally, the significant vowel interactions provide some evidence that dialect information is implicitly coded by the listener, though further studies are needed to better understand this result.
This project was supported by the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Award from the Ohio State University for 2007-2008 and the Undergraduate Research Award in the Humanities from the Ohio State University for 2007.
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