Speech Perception

Central to language comprehension is how the long-term memory representations of linguistic information guide or otherwise impinge on perception. I have previously approached this in the domain of vision and sign language (Almeida, Poeppel & Corina, 2016), but my current focus is in speech perception (Schluter, Politzer-Ahles & Almeida, 2016; Schluter, Politzer-Ahles, Al Kaabi & Almeida, 2017; Politzer-Ahles, Schluter, Wu & Almeida, 2016). In particular, I am interested in the extent to which the representations of speech sounds in long-term memory is tied to sensory processing: do speech sound categories in long-term memory retain fine-grained acoustic/phonetic information or are they fairly abstract and/or optimally sparse?

Research from my lab on this topic has exploited an automatic difference-detection brain response in the auditory domain (the Mismatch Negativity - MMN), and the results have consistently pointed to long-term memory representations for speech sounds that are fairly abstract when it comes to sensory information, and also potentially sparse in their featural content.

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Diogo Almeida
Associate Professor of Psychology

My research interests lie at the intersection of linguistic theory, psycholinguistics and neurocience of language.

Publications

Laryngeal features are phonetically abstract: Mismatch negativity evidence from Arabic, English, and Russian

Many theories of phonology assume that the sound structure of language is made up of distinctive features, but there is considerable …

Asymmetries in the perception of Mandarin tones: Evidence from mismatch negativity

The representational format of speech units in long-term memory is a topic of debate. We present novel event-related brain potential …

No place for /h/: an ERP investigation of English fricative place features

The representational format of speech units in long-term memory is a topic of debate. We present novel event-related brain potential …

The processing of biologically plausible and implausible forms in American Sign Language: evidence for perceptual tuning

The human auditory system distinguishes speech-like information from general auditory signals in a remarkably fast and efficient way. …

Asymmetries in the perception of Mandarin tones: Evidence from mismatch negativity

While asymmetrical neural responses to segmental contrasts have been used to articulate theories of the featural representation of …