Language experience modulates weighting of acoustic cues for vowel perception

An event-related potential study

Silvia C. Lipski*, Paola Escudero, Titia Benders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


In behavioral tasks, previous research has found that advanced Spanish learners of Dutch rely on duration cues to distinguish Dutch vowels, while Dutch listeners rely on spectral cues. This study tested whether language-specific cue weighting is reflected in preattentive processing. The mismatch negativity (MMN) of Dutch and Spanish participants was examined in response to spectral and duration cues in Dutch vowels. The MMN at frontal and mid sites was weaker and peaked later at Fz for Spanish than for Dutch listeners for the spectrally cued contrasts, whereas both groups responded similarly to the duration cue. In line with overt categorization behavior, these MMN data indicate that preattentive cue weighting depends on the listeners' language experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-650
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


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