15th Speech in Noise Workshop, 11-12 January 2024, Potsdam, Germany 15th Speech in Noise Workshop, 11-12 January 2024, Potsdam, Germany

P41Session 1 (Thursday 11 January 2024, 15:35-18:00)
Perceptual learning of dysarthric speech requires phonological processing: A dual-task study

Patti Adank
Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London (UCL), United Kingdom

Han Wang
Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom

Taylor Hepworth, Stephanie A. Borrie
Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan, United States

Rationale: Listeners can adapt to speech signals that can be initially difficult to understand, including artificially degraded signals such as noise-vocoded speech. We recently demonstrated (Wang et al., 2023) that listeners can perceptually adapt to noise-vocoded speech under divided attention (using a dual task design). Here, we evaluated the role of divided attention in perceptual learning of naturally (neurologically) degraded speech, i.e., dysarthric speech (Borrie & Lansford, 2021). We conducted an online between-subject experiment with four groups (N = 192). We examined the reliance of perceptual learning of dysarthric speech on selective attention to establish if perceptual adaptation to degraded speech qualifies as an automatic cognitive process.

Methods: Participants completed a speech recognition task in which they repeated forty sentences spoken by a male dysarthric speaker, in a between-group design. Participants completed a speech-only task or performed this task with a dual task aiming to recruit domain-specific (lexical or phonological), or domain-general (visual) processes. If perceptual learning of distorted speech qualifies as a largely automatic process, we expected no difference in rate or shape of adaptation across the four groups. However, if perceptual learning of speech requires domain-specific processes that matched the type of variation present in the speech signal, we expected a lower rate of adaption for the phonological group.

Results: We observed perceptual learning for all groups, except for the phonological group. Speech recognition improvement in the single speech, lexical, and visuomotor groups was around 10-11%, while improvement in the phonological group was not significant (5%).

Conclusions: Perceptual learning of dysarthric speech can occur under divided attention, as long as the dual task does not require phonological processes. Perceptual learning of speech is thus a largely automatic process, but engagement of domain-specific processes distorts learning.


  • Borrie, S. A., & Lansford, K. L. (2021). A perceptual learning approach for dysarthria remediation: An updated review. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(8), 3060-3073, doi:10.1044/2021_JSLHR-21-00012.
  • Wang, H., Chen, R., Yan, Y., McGettigan, C., Rosen, S., & Adank, P. (2023). Perceptual Learning of Noise-Vocoded Speech Under Divided Attention. Trends in Hearing, 27, doi:10.1177/23312165231192297.

Last modified 2023-11-29 15:13:43