Effect of training modality on foreign-accent adaptation in older adults

TitleEffect of training modality on foreign-accent adaptation in older adults
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2011
Conference NameDag van de Fonetiek 2011
AuthorsJanse, Esther, and Patti Adank
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationUtrecht, The Netherlands

This study investigated the effect of presentation modality (audio-only or audiovisual) on adaptation to an artificial (foreign-sounding) accent. Participants were 66 older adults with varying degrees of (age-related) hearing loss: half of them only heard the accented speech, and the other half both heard and saw the speaker speak the artificial accent. We tested accent processing and monitored adaptation in both groups using a speeded sentence-verification test (i.e., judging whether a statement such as ’rats have teeth’ is true or false). Older adults showed adaptation with longer accent exposure. This adaptation effect, however, was not modified by presentation modality. Overall performance in the audio-visual condition was better than in the auditory-only condition, both for the accented sentences and for the practice trials spoken in standard-Dutch. Further, a number of cognitive and linguistic abilities were tested to investigate correlates of adaptation and of accented-sentence perception. Selective attention and vocabulary knowledge predicted amount of adaptation over the course of the experiment.