Speech perception

Randy L. Diehl, Andrew J. Lotto, Lori L. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

291 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on one of the first steps in comprehending spoken language: How do listeners extract the most fundamental linguistic elements-consonants and vowels, or the distinctive features which compose them - from the acoustic signal? We begin by describing three major theoretical perspectives on the perception of speech. Then we review several lines of research that are relevant to distinguishing these perspectives. The research topics surveyed include categorical perception, phonetic context effects, learning of speech and related nonspeech categories, and the relation between speech perception and production. Finally, we describe challenges facing each of the major theoretical perspectives on speech perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-179
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory pattern recognition
  • Categorical perception
  • Perceptual learning
  • Phonetic context effects
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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