Speak the beat: The effect of priming tones on speech production rate

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The Ohio State University

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Will the rhythm of what you hear influence how you speak? The two current studies explore whether a priming rhythm, which has no melodic component, can influence speech production rate. In the first study, participants heard rhythmic beats consisting of different styles: cowbells, drips, heartbeats, pings, and a metronome. Following each sound sequence, the participants described the action in the cartoon-like picture. In the first study, when participants described the pictures, their rate of speech following faster sound primes was not significantly different from their rate following slower sound primes. Participants in the second study heard 20 steady rhythmic sequences consisting of one of five different sounds presented at either a fast or slow rate with 60% of the sequences including a changed tone. Participants pressed a button when they detected a change in pitch during the rhythmic sequence. Alternating between each rhythm sequence, participants described the action portrayed in the cartoon pictures. In the second study, the rate of the priming rhythm influenced button-press reaction time, but not speech rate. The results from both studies suggest the need for a richer sound prime.



speech production rate, rhythmic prime, music, language