How might musical experience affect speech processing? Relation of musical skills to speech perception and speaker recognition
Although evidence suggests that music and language perception may be dissociable, there are also data demonstrating a relation between musical skills and the processing of lexical tones. Music conservatory students, unfamiliar with tonal languages, have demonstrated higher accuracy in identifying, discriminating, and imitating the four lexical tones of Mandarin Chinese, as compared to university students who had not received conservatory training. The nature of this advantage has not been fully explored, but it appears to be maintained after some training in tone discrimination. This “musician advantage” may also extend to learning other unfamiliar phonetic contrasts (e.g., vowels and consonants). Studies are proposed to test the advantage in cross-language perception of prosodic cues (important for speech segmentation and stress perception) and talker identification.
Dr. Gottfried is a Professor of Psychology at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. His research interests include:
- Second language learning and the perception and production of speech;
- Effect of musical training on speech perception and production;
- Effect of vocal instruction on acoustics of the singing voice;
- Influence of literary form on comprehension and memory;
- Characteristics of autobiographical memory seen in literary memoir