No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Note17 May 2018

Does Implicit Voice Learning Improve Spoken Language Processing? Implications for Clinical Practice


    In typical interactions with other speakers, including a clinical environment, listeners become familiar with voices through implicit learning. Previous studies have found evidence for a Familiar Talker Advantage (better speech perception and spoken language processing for familiar voices) following explicit voice learning. The current study examined whether a Familiar Talker Advantage would result from implicit voice learning.


    Thirty-three adults and 16 second graders were familiarized with 1 of 2 talkers' voices over 2 days through live interactions as 1 of 2 experimenters administered standardized tests and interacted with the listeners. To assess whether this implicit voice learning would generate a Familiar Talker Advantage, listeners completed a baseline sentence recognition task and a post-learning sentence recognition task with both the familiar talker and the unfamiliar talker.


    No significant effect of voice familiarity was found for either the children or the adults following implicit voice learning. Effect size estimates suggest that familiarity with the voice may benefit some listeners, despite the lack of an overall effect of familiarity.


    We discuss possible clinical implications of this finding and directions for future research.


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