Vortrag von Stephen Goldinger (Arizona State University), 13. Oktober 2015

17. August 2015; Nadja Schauffler

Title:   The Deep Cognitive Bases of Voice-Specific Perception and Spontaneous Imitation (Stephen D. Goldinger)

When: 13 October 2015, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Where: Institute for Natural Language Processing, Pfaffenwaldring 5b

Natalie Lewandowski (Institut für Maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung, Universität Stuttgart)


For years, it has been known that human memory has massive capacity to retain detailed traces of visual objects (e.g., Shepard, 1967; Standing et al., 1970), findings that have recently been extended (Brady et al., 2008).  Such results led to the development of powerful exemplar models in the visual domain (e.g., Shi, Griffiths, Feldman & Sanborn, 2010).  Similar models have been suggested in the auditory domain (e.g., Goldinger, 1998; Johnson, 2006; Walsh et al., 2010), proposing that lexical access can often proceed by memory-based classification, rather than segment-based signal analysis.  Although exemplar models are powerful, they are often considered poor candidates in our quest to understand language use, due to a combination of implausible assumptions and hypothetical dissociations between neural systems for episodic memory and language.  Support for exemplar theories has largely come from two experimental findings:  First, listeners show voice-specific priming effects when processing spoken words.  These findings have been challenged, however, by claims that voice effects only occur when people respond slowly, and therefore are unlikely to reflect lexical access (McLennan & Luce, 2005).  Second, exemplar theories are supported by findings of spontaneous imitation (also known as "phonetic alignment," or “accommodation”), the finding that people tend to produce words that resemble recently heard tokens.  These findings, however, have been challenged by a generally inconsistent empirical literature, with findings that come and go.  In this presentation, I will present new evidence regarding both the perceptual and production sides of voice-specific exemplar processing.  On the perceptual side, new experiments show that recently heard words affect eye-movements very early in perception, despite claims about late-arising episodic effects.  Moreover, I argue that previous “time-course” experiments have been deeply flawed, both in logic and methods.  On the production side, I will attempt to reconcile the inconsistent literature, sharing new data about the critical role of attention, which has powerful effects speech accommodation.  Together, our new results suggest that exemplar-based processing is reliably found in perception and production experiments, but those experiments must be well-crafted with respect to cognitive variables.  The human mind is a remarkably powerful abstraction machine:  Exemplar effects are often transient and small, but they provide a critical window into language processing.


Brady, T.F., Konkle, T., Alvarez, G., & Oliva, A. (2008). Visual long-term memory has a massive storage capacity for object details.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105, 14325-14329.

Goldinger, S.D. (1998). Echoes of echoes? An episodic theory of lexical access.  Psychological Review, 105, 251-279.

Johnson, K. (2006).  Resonance in an exemplar-based lexicon: The emergence of social identity and phonology.  Journal of Phonetics, 34, 485-499.

McLennan, C., & Luce, P.A. (2005). Examining the time course of indexical specificity effects in spoken word recognition.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31, 306-321.

Shepard, R.N. (1967).  Recognition memory for words, sentences, and pictures.  Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 6, 156-163.

Shepard, R.N. (1987). Toward a universal law of generalization for psychological science.  Science, 237, 1317-1323.

Shi, L., Griffiths, T.L., Feldman, N.H., & Sanborn, A.N. (2010). Exemplar models as a mechanism for performing Bayesian inference.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 443-464.

Standing, L., Conezio, J., & Haber, R. (1970).  Perception and memory for  pictures:  Single-trial learning of 2560 visual stimuli.  Psychonomic Science, 19, 73-74.

Walsh, M., Möbius, B., Wade, T., & Schütze, H. (2010).  Multilevel exemplar theory.  Cognitive Science, 34, 537-582.