Spectral discontinuities and the vowel length effect

Andrew J. Lotto, Keith R. Kluender, Kerry P. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Perception of voicing for stop consonants in consonant-vowel syllables can be affected by the duration of the following vowel so that longer vowels lead to more "voiced" responses. On the basis of several experiments, Green, Stevens, and Kuhl (1994) concluded that continuity of fundamental frequency (f0), but not continuity of formant structure, determined the effective length of the following vowel. In an extension of those efforts, we found here that both effects were critically dependent on particular f0s and formant values. First, discontinuity in f0 does not necessarily preclude the vowel length effect because the effect maintains when f0 changes from 200 to 100 Hz, and 200-Hz partials extend continuously through test syllables. Second, spectral discontinuity does preclude the vowel length effect when formant changes result in a spectral peak shifting to another harmonic. The results indicate that the effectiveness of stimulus changes for sustaining or diminishing the vowel length effect depends critically on particulars of spectral composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1014
Number of pages10
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)


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