Detection of missing words in spoken text

William E. Cooper, Nancy Tye-Murray, Lori J. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Two tests were conducted to examine listeners' detection of missing words in spoken paragraph contexts. Detection was assessed by presenting listeners with normal paragraphs and with paragraphs each containing a single occurrence of a missed word, an inappropriate pause, or a mispronounced word. In the first test, listeners were simply asked whether they detected any abnormalities and to describe them. The results indicated that listeners reported missed words in only 34 to 49% of the paragraphs containing such words. In the second test, a separate group of listeners was given more specific instructions beforehand, indicating the three possible types of abnormality. In this task, the correct detection of missed words rose to 96%. Taken together, the results indicate that listeners do not readily detect occasional missing words under ordinary circumstances but are capable of such detection in a task specifically focused on message abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1987


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