Perception of voicing for syllable-initial stops at different intensities: Does synchrony capture signal voiceless stop consonants?

Keith R. Kluender, Andrew J. Lotto, Rick L. Jenisonc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In response to stop consonants with longer F1 -cutback duration, the dominant synchronization of mid- and high-CF chinchilla auditory-nerve fibers changes from frequencies near F2 to frequencies near at onset of voicing [D. G. Sinex and L. P. McDonald, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 85, 1995-2004 (1989)]. If this change in neural synchronization is perceptually relevant for human listeners, then it may be predicted that changes in stimulus intensity and changes in the frequency difference between lower (F1) and higher (F2/F3) stimulus components should both affect perception of voicing. In a series of experiments, multiple continua of synthesized CVs varying in F1 cutback of the consonantal portion were played to listeners at levels ranging from 40 to 80 dB SPL. Across experiments, the frequency difference between F1 and F2 was manipulated by changing the onset frequency of F1 or F2. Subjects labeled more initial stops as voiceless as a function of increasing stimulus level and of decreasing frequency difference between F1 and F2. There was also an interaction between stimulus intensity and the frequency difference between F1 and F2 such that the effect of intensity was greater for smaller differences. These effects were reliable across a number of synthetic F1 -cutback series, and the effect of intensity extended to a digitally edited series of hybrid CVs in which F1 -cutback was varied by cross splicing naturally produced /da/ and /ta/. The effect of overall stimulus intensity was not affected by amplitude of prevocalic aspiration energy or by the presence or absence of release bursts. The results’ provide evidence for the perceptual significance of synchrony encoding of voicing for stop consonants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2552-2567
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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