Catherine Pham
April 12, 2024
9:00 am
Foster Auditorium, Pattee and Paterno Library

Catherine Pham

“Exploring Linguistic Release from Masking in Interactive Language Production”

Catherine Pham
Graduate Student, Penn State
Department of Psychology

Naturalistic language use often occurs in the presence of background noise with interacting individuals shifting between the roles of speaker and listener. However, the majority of psycholinguistic research has largely focused on examining comprehension and production under optimal, relatively silent conditions. Investigations of the impact of noisy environments have focused on listener challenges associated with maintaining focus on the target speech while ignoring competing auditory input (i.e., the masker), usually in the context of monologue. Studies that have examined interactive situations have primarily focused on speakers’ acoustic-phonetic adjustments. While it is clear that speakers do alter the acoustic properties of their speech in such challenging conditions, whether they alter the syntactic complexity of their speech remains an open question. Importantly, while prior work has examined the impact of background speech on speech recognition, language comprehension, and (to some extent) production, these bodies of research have predominantly proceeded independently.

In this talk, Catherine will discuss preliminary findings from her dissertation project, which applies insights from studies of speech recognition and language comprehension in adverse conditions to the study of production. More specifically, the current study manipulates the linguistic similarity between the target and the masker languages and the speaker’s knowledge of the masker to explore how speakers modify the syntactic complexity of their production as they grapple with the challenges of speaking in adverse conditions.