The Role of Experience in the Perception of Phonetic Detail in Children’s Speech: A Comparison Between Speech-Language Pathologists and Clinically Untrained Listeners Purpose This study examined whether experienced speech-language pathologists (SLPs) differ from inexperienced people in their perception of phonetic detail in children’s speech. Method Twenty-one experienced SLPs and 21 inexperienced listeners participated in a series of tasks in which they used a visual–analog scale (VAS) to rate children’s natural ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2012
The Role of Experience in the Perception of Phonetic Detail in Children’s Speech: A Comparison Between Speech-Language Pathologists and Clinically Untrained Listeners
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Benjamin Munson
    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Julie M. Johnson
    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Jan Edwards
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Correspondence to Benjamin Munson: Munso005@umn.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Peter Flipsen Jr.
    Associate Editor: Peter Flipsen Jr.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2012
The Role of Experience in the Perception of Phonetic Detail in Children’s Speech: A Comparison Between Speech-Language Pathologists and Clinically Untrained Listeners
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, 124-139. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/11-0009)
History: Received January 21, 2011 , Revised September 28, 2011 , Accepted December 26, 2011
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, 124-139. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/11-0009)
History: Received January 21, 2011; Revised September 28, 2011; Accepted December 26, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

Purpose This study examined whether experienced speech-language pathologists (SLPs) differ from inexperienced people in their perception of phonetic detail in children’s speech.

Method Twenty-one experienced SLPs and 21 inexperienced listeners participated in a series of tasks in which they used a visual–analog scale (VAS) to rate children’s natural productions of target /s/–/θ/, /t/–/k/, and /d/–/ɡ/ in word-initial position. Listeners rated the perceived distance between individual productions and ideal productions.

Results The experienced listeners' ratings differed from the inexperienced listeners' ratings in four ways: They had higher intrarater reliability, showed less bias toward a more frequent sound, and were more closely related to the acoustic characteristics of the children’s speech. In addition, the experienced listeners' responses were related to a different set of predictor variables.

Conclusion Results suggest that experience working as an SLP leads to better perception of phonetic detail in children’s speech. Limitations and future research are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant BCS0729277 to Benjamin Munson, by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 DC02932 and National Science Foundation Grant BCS0729140 to Jan Edwards, and in part by a core grant (P30HD03352) to the Waisman Center from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Portions of this study were completed as part of the second author’s MA thesis from the University of Minnesota. We generously thank Joe Reichle for extensive and very useful comments on that document and Susan Rose for additional comments. We also thank Eden Kaiser, Marie Meyer, Renata Solum, and Kari Urberg-Carlson for testing subjects and developing experimental protocols, and Mary E. Beckman, Eun Jong Kong, and Edward Carney for assistance with data analysis.
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