Perceptual Auditory Aftereffects on Voice Identity Using Brief Vowel Stimuli

Abstract : Humans can identify individuals from their voice, suggesting the existence of a perceptual representation of voice identity. We used perceptual aftereffects-shifts in perceived stimulus quality after brief exposure to a repeated adaptor stimulus-to further investigate the representation of voice identity in two experiments. Healthy adult listeners were familiarized with several voices until they reached a recognition criterion. They were then tested on identification tasks that used vowel stimuli generated by morphing between the different identities, presented either in isolation (baseline) or following short exposure to different types of voice adaptors (adaptation). Experiment 1 showed that adaptation to a given voice induced categorization shifts away from that adaptor's identity even when the adaptors consisted of vowels different from the probe stimuli. Moreover, original voices and caricatures resulted in comparable aftereffects, ruling out an explanation of identity aftereffects in terms of adaptation to low-level features. In Experiment 2, we show that adaptors with a disrupted configuration, i.e., altered fundamental frequency or formant frequencies, failed to produce perceptual aftereffects showing the importance of the preserved configuration of these acoustical cues in the representation of voices. These two experiments indicate a high-level, dynamic representation of voice identity based on the combination of several lower-level acoustical features into a specific voice configuration.
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M. Latinus, P. Belin. Perceptual Auditory Aftereffects on Voice Identity Using Brief Vowel Stimuli. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7, ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0041384⟩. ⟨hal-02008809⟩

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