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Recall of passages of synthetic speech


Memory for synthetic speech versions of grade school-level materials was tested in two studies. In Experiment 1, two different versions of three simple stories were recorded in synthetic speech. The versions differed in prosody, one employing hand-applied pitch and stress and the other employing random stress. Free recall of the stories showed no consistent difference in performance as a function of the intonational pattern used. Experiment 2 compared the recall of a simple biographical sketch presented in either natural speech or synthetic speech. A sentence-by-sentence dictation test showed little difference in intelligibility of the texts, and the difference disappeared with minimal practice on synthetic speech. Free recall of the entire passage showed synthetic speech to be disadvantaged only in the case of nonpracticed listeners. Again, minimal practice with synthetic speech dispelled the differences.

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Correspondence to James J. Jenkins.

Additional information

This research was supported by Grant MH-21153 from the National Institute of Mental Health to James J. Jenkins and Winifred Strange. The second author is a trainee of the Center for Research in Human Learning, supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant HD-00098). Special thanks are due to Astrid Schmidt-Nielsen for providing tapes of synthetic speech and to Haskins Laboratories and David Isenberg for the synthetic material used in the second experiment. We gratefully acknowledge the help of Janet Fridgen, who independently scored all of the recall materials to ensure reliability.

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Jenkins, J.J., Franklin, L.D. Recall of passages of synthetic speech. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 20, 203–206 (1982).

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  • Free Recall
  • Lexical Decision Task
  • Speech Synthesis
  • Natural Speech
  • Prefer Material