Effects of Different Types of Noise on Foreign Accent Adaptation
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Understanding foreign-accented speech can be difficult. Comprehension can be further compromised by environmental noise. Previous research has shown that listeners are able to adapt rapidly to a foreign accent. The present study examines how foreign accent (FA) adaptation is affected by two kinds of noise: speech-shaped white noise and competing speech. Native English listeners heard blocks of sentences produced by native-accented or foreign-accented talkers (Korean, Spanish) mixed with either type of noise, and indicated if the word written on the screen and the last word they heard were the same by pressing a button. Results show that listener responses were more accurate (though slower) when sentences were mixed with competing speech than with speech-shaped white noise. These findings suggest that while competing speech made word recognition more effortful, ultimately it was less disruptive than white noise for FA adaptation.