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The perception of speech is notably malleable in adults, yet alterations in perception seem to have little impact on speech production. However, we hypothesized that speech perceptual training might immediately influence speech motor learning. To test this, we paired a speech perceptual-training task with a speech motor-learning task. Subjects performed a series of perceptual tests designed to measure and then manipulate the perceptual distinction between the words head and had. Subjects then produced head with the sound of the vowel altered in real time so that they heard themselves through headphones producing a word that sounded more like had. In support of our hypothesis, the amount of motor learning in response to the voice alterations depended on the perceptual boundary acquired through perceptual training. The studies show that plasticity in adults' speech perception can have immediate consequences for speech production in the context of speech learning.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychol Sci

Publication Date





1325 - 1336


cognitive neuroscience, learning, motor processes, speech perception, Acoustic Stimulation, Adolescent, Adult, Female, Humans, Language, Learning, Speech Acoustics, Speech Perception, Young Adult