Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts Degree

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Mclennan, Conor T.

Second Advisor

Eric S. Allard

Third Advisor

Andrew Slifkin

Abstract

One area of auditory processing research involves investigations into how spoken words are processed. When hearing spoken words, in addition to the word itself, listeners process other information, such as the gender of the talker. Both spoken words and other sounds humans encounter in their environment are managed in the auditory system. A common example of an environmental sound is music. Additional research has demonstrated that participants associate musical instruments with genders. In the current research study, I examined the effects that musical instrument gender and talker gender have on spoken word recognition. Female participants heard a moment of silence or a male, female, or neutral instrument play a song clip followed by either a male or female talker saying a word or nonword. The participant responded by indicating whether the talker said a word or a nonword by pressing the appropriate button on the keyboard. Two repeated measures ANOVAs were used to analyze the data, one on accuracy and one on reaction time to correct responses. A main effect of condition was found in the reaction time analysis, with the silent condition producing the fastest responses. In addition, participants responses were faster following the female instruments than the male and neutral instruments. In the future, researchers could compare these results utilizing a male sample. The current research aids in the understanding of how humans process auditory stimuli and contributes to a body of research revealing connections between iv environmental sound processing, including (perhaps especially) music, and spoken word recognition.

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