Revisiting the Relationship Between Implicit Racial Bias and Audiovisual Benefit for Nonnative-Accented Speech

Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

Speech intelligibility is improved when the listener can see the talker in addition to hearing their voice. Notably, though, previous work has suggested that this “audiovisual benefit” for nonnative (i.e., foreign-accented) speech is smaller than the benefit for native speech, an effect that may be partially accounted for by listeners’ implicit racial biases (Yi et al., 2013, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134[5], EL387–EL393.). In the present study, we sought to replicate these find- ings in a significantly larger sample of online participants. In a direct replication of Yi et al. (Experiment 1), we found that audiovisual benefit was indeed smaller for nonnative-accented relative to native-accented speech. However, our results did not support the conclusion that implicit racial biases, as measured with two types of implicit association tasks, were related to these differences in audiovisual benefit for native and nonnative speech. In a second experiment, we addressed a potential confound in the experimental design; to ensure that the difference in audiovisual benefit was caused by a difference in accent rather than a difference in overall intelligibility, we reversed the overall difficulty of each accent condition by presenting them at different signal-to-noise ratios. Even when native speech was presented at a much more difficult intelligibility level than nonnative speech, audiovisual benefit for nonnative speech remained poorer. In light of these findings, we discuss alternative explanations of reduced audiovisual benefit for nonnative speech, as well as methodological considerations for future work examining the intersection of social, cognitive, and linguistic processes.

Posted on:
January 5, 2022
2 minute read, 251 words
implicit bias audiovisual speech accented speech online research speech perception
See Also:
The Effects of Temporal Cues, Point-Light Displays, and Faces on Speech Identification and Listening Effort
Spread the Word: Enhancing Replicability of Speech Research Through Stimulus Sharing
Spread the Word: Enhancing Replicability of Speech Research Through Stimulus Sharing