Does Ambiguity Trigger All Compatible Sound Representations?

Mark Scott (Kobe-City University of Foreign Studies)

   In resolving ambiguous sounds, the brain must reject candidates that are somewhat consistent with the acoustics in favour of the candidate that is the most consistent. This experiment investigates whether rejecting a candidate results in inhibition or priming of the candidate’s phonemic representation. The McGurk effect was used to create stimuli that are acoustically consistent with /bi/ but are perceived as /di/; in this circumstance, /bi/ is a reject candidate. The experiment found that the audiovisual mismatch inherent to the McGurk effect caused slower response times, and that any inhibition or priming was sufficiently small to be masked by the slower response times caused by the McGurk effect.