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Musicians show enhanced perception, but not production, of native lexical tones

Ong, J. H., Wong, P. C. M. and Liu, F. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7776-0222 (2020) Musicians show enhanced perception, but not production, of native lexical tones. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. ISSN 0001-4966 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

Many studies have reported a musical advantage in perceiving lexical tones among non-native listeners, but it is unclear whether this advantage also applies to native listeners, who are likely to show ceiling-like performance and thus mask any potential musical advantage. The ongoing tone merging phenomenon in Hong Kong Cantonese provides a unique opportunity to investigate this as merging tone pairs are reported to be difficult to differentiate even among native listeners. In the present study, native Cantonese musicians and non-musicians were compared on their discrimination and identification of merging Cantonese tone pairs to determine whether a musical advantage in their perception will be observed, and if so, whether this is seen on the phonetic and/or phonological level. The tonal space of their lexical tone production was also compared. Results indicated that the musicians outperformed the non-musicians on the two perceptual tasks, as indexed by their higher accuracy and faster reaction time, particularly on the most difficult tone pair. In the production task, however, there was no group difference in various indices of their tonal space. Taken together, musical experience appears to facilitate native listeners’ perception, but not production, of lexical tones, which partially supports a music-to-language transfer effect.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Perception and Action
ID Code:93814
Publisher:Acoustical Society of America

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