Perceptual compensation for reverberation in speech identification: effects of single-band, multiple-band and wideband noise contexts
Watkins, A. J. and Makin, S. J. (2007) Perceptual compensation for reverberation in speech identification: effects of single-band, multiple-band and wideband noise contexts. Acta Acustica United with Acustica, 93 (3). pp. 403-410. ISSN 1610-1928
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Perceptual effects of room reverberation on a "sir" or "stir" test-word can be observed when the level of reverberation in the word is increased, while the reverberation in a surrounding 'context I utterance remains at a minimal level. The result is that listeners make more "sit" identifications. When the context's reverberation is also increased, to approach the level in the test word, extrinsic perceptual compensation is observed, so that the number of listeners' "sir" identifications reduces to a value similar to that found with minimal reverberation. Thus far, compensation effects have only been observed with speech or speech-like contexts in which the short-term spectrum changes as the speaker's articulators move. The results reported here show that some noise contexts with static short-term spectra can also give rise to compensation. From these experiments it would appear that compensation requires a context with a temporal envelope that fluctuates to some extent, so that parts of it resemble offsets. These findings are consistent with a rather general kind of perceptual compensation mechanism; one that is informed by the 'tails' that reverberation adds at offsets. Other results reported here show that narrow-band contexts do not bring about compensation, even when their temporal-envelopes are the same as those of the more effective wideband contexts. These results suggest that compensation is confined to the frequency range occupied by the context, and that in a wideband sound it might operate in a 'band by band' manner.