An unresolved question is how the reported clarity of degraded speech is enhanced when listeners have prior knowledge of speech content. One account of this phenomenon proposes top-down modulation of early acoustic processing by higher-level linguistic knowledge. Alternative, strictly bottom-up accounts argue that acoustic information and higher-level knowledge are combined at a late decision stage without modulating early acoustic processing. Here we tested top-down and bottom-up accounts using written text to manipulate listeners' knowledge of speech content. The effect of written text on the reported clarity of noise-vocoded speech was most pronounced when text was presented before (rather than after) speech (Experiment 1). Fine-grained manipulation of the onset asynchrony between text and speech revealed that this effect declined when text was presented more than 120 ms after speech onset (Experiment 2). Finally, the influence of written text was found to arise from phonological (rather than lexical) correspondence between text and speech (Experiment 3). These results suggest that prior knowledge effects are time-limited by the duration of auditory echoic memory for degraded speech, consistent with top-down modulation of early acoustic processing by linguistic knowledge.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance|
|State||Published - Feb 1 2014|
- Echoic memory
- Predictive coding
- Prior knowledge
- Vocoded speech