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Formants and speech perception

Jeffrey G. Sirianni sirianni at uts.cc.utexas.edu
Thu Dec 7 23:40:35 EST 1995

In article <49v09q$87e at utrhcs.cs.utwente.nl>, mgrim at cs.utwente.nl (Martin Grim) says:

>Collecting information about the anatomical part isn't such a hard task, 
>but less is known about the way the brain computes speech from the signals 
>delivered by the ear and the auditory pathway. The ear converts the sound 
>waves to a frequency spectrum, which is send to the auditory cortex. Speech 
>is known to be build up by phonemes and phonemes can be identified by their 
>formants, or even by formant ratios (for speaker independency). The question 
>which rises now is does the brain computes speech from the enire frequency 
>spectrum, or does it use just the formants? 
>Does somebody know the answer to this question (which is summarized as 
>"are formants biological plausible"), or perhaps a reference of a publication 
>with a discussion about this subject?


The answers to your questions can be found in the realm of neurolinguistics,
this being the study of how the brain processes sound, in particular, speech
and complex waveforms.  The information that comes out of neurolinguistics is
ever changing, so I'm guessing that a recent textbook on the subject would be
a start along with a recent literature search.

Good luck....

Jeff Sirianni     @(((<{
University of Texas at Austin
Communication Sciences and Disorders
CMA, 2nd Floor Clinic
Austin, TX  78712-1089
sirianni at uts.cc.utexas.edu
jgsaudio at aol.com

P.S. A neurolinguistics professor here at UT has mentioned that he receives
phone calls from people thinking that he teaches courses on Neurolinguistic
Programmming, a sort of "improving your vocabulary to succeed" technique... :-)

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