Speech perception as categorization

Lori L. Holt, Andrew J. Lotto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Speech perception (SP) most commonly refers to the perceptual mapping from the highly variable acoustic speech signal to a linguistic representation, whether it be phonemes, diphones, syllables, or words. This is an example of categorization, in that potentially discriminable speech sounds are assigned to functionally equivalent classes. In this tutorial, we present some of the main challenges to our understanding of the categorization of speech sounds and the conceptualization of SP that has resulted from these challenges. We focus here on issues and experiments that define open research questions relevant to phoneme categorization, arguing that SP is best understood as perceptual categorization, a position that places SP in direct contact with research from other areas of perception and cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1227
Number of pages10
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


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