The Effects of Phonotactic Probability and Neighborhood Density on Adults' Word Learning in Noisy Conditions Purpose Noisy conditions make auditory processing difficult. This study explores whether noisy conditions influence the effects of phonotactic probability (the likelihood of occurrence of a sound sequence) and neighborhood density (phonological similarity among words) on adults' word learning. Method Fifty-eight adults learned nonwords varying in phonotactic probability and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2016
The Effects of Phonotactic Probability and Neighborhood Density on Adults' Word Learning in Noisy Conditions
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Min Kyung Han
    Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea
  • Holly L. Storkel
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Jaehoon Lee
    Texas Tech University, Lubbock
  • Casey Cox
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Min Kyung Han: minhan@ewha.ac.kr
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Daniel Kempler
    Associate Editor: Daniel Kempler×
Article Information
Development / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2016
The Effects of Phonotactic Probability and Neighborhood Density on Adults' Word Learning in Noisy Conditions
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2016, Vol. 25, 547-560. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-14-0165
History: Received September 18, 2014 , Revised April 9, 2015 , Accepted March 24, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2016, Vol. 25, 547-560. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-14-0165
History: Received September 18, 2014; Revised April 9, 2015; Accepted March 24, 2016

Purpose Noisy conditions make auditory processing difficult. This study explores whether noisy conditions influence the effects of phonotactic probability (the likelihood of occurrence of a sound sequence) and neighborhood density (phonological similarity among words) on adults' word learning.

Method Fifty-eight adults learned nonwords varying in phonotactic probability and neighborhood density in either an unfavorable (0-dB signal-to-noise ratio [SNR]) or a favorable (+8-dB SNR) listening condition. Word learning was assessed using a picture naming task by scoring the proportion of phonemes named correctly.

Results The unfavorable 0-dB SNR condition showed a significant interaction between phonotactic probability and neighborhood density in the absence of main effects. In particular, adults learned more words when phonotactic probability and neighborhood density were both low or both high. The +8-dB SNR condition did not show this interaction. These results are inconsistent with those from a prior adult word learning study conducted under quiet listening conditions that showed main effects of word characteristics.

Conclusions As the listening condition worsens, adult word learning benefits from a convergence of phonotactic probability and neighborhood density. Clinical implications are discussed for potential populations who experience difficulty with auditory perception or processing, making them more vulnerable to noise.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant DC-08095 awarded to Holly L. Storkel.
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