An evidence accumulation model of acoustic cue weighting in vowel perception

Gabriel Tillman*, Titia Benders, Scott D. Brown, Don van Ravenzwaaij

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Listeners rely on multiple acoustic cues to recognize any phoneme. The relative contribution of these cues to listeners׳ perception is typically inferred from listeners׳ categorization of sounds in a two-alternative forced-choice task. Here we advocate the use of an evidence accumulation model to analyze categorization as well as response time data from such cue weighting paradigms in terms of the processes that underlie the listeners׳ categorization. We tested 30 Dutch listeners on their categorization of speech sounds that varied between typical /ɑ/ and /aː/ in vowel quality (F1 and F2) and duration. Using the linear ballistic accumulator model, we found that the changes in spectral quality and duration lead to changes in the speed of information processing, and the effects were larger for spectral quality. In addition, for stimuli with atypical spectral information, listeners accumulate evidence faster for /ɑ/ compared to /aː/. Finally, longer durations of sounds did not produce longer estimates of perceptual encoding time. Our results demonstrate the utility of evidence accumulation models for learning about the latent processes that underlie phoneme categorization. The implications for current theory in speech perception as well as future directions for evidence accumulation models are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Phonetics
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


    • Linear ballistic accumulator
    • Phoneme categorization
    • Response time


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