thecenter

Activities and Seminars

Alison Trude. Is episodic memory necessary for talker adaptation?: Evidence from hippocampal amnesia
 
Date: Sep 11, 2012

What: Alison Trude. Is episodic memory necessary for talker adaptation?: Evidence from hippocampal amnesia

Where: BCBL auditorium

Who: Alison Trude, University of Illinois, US

When: 12 noon


Listeners usually understand various talkers’ speech easily, despite inter-talker variability. While there is no consensus on how we learn and adapt to the speech characteristics of different talkers, one proposal is that we store talker-specific information in episodic memory. To test this proposal, five hippocampal amnesics with severe declarative memory impairment completed an eye-tracking task in which two talkers with different regional accents of American English named objects in a display. Previous research has shown that undergraduate participants use information they have learned about the talkers’ accents during the course of the experiment to constrain lexical interpretation. If talker adaptation relies on episodic memory, the amnesic participants should not be able to use this information, and should fail at the task. However, the amnesics performed like healthy adults and were able to use information about the talkers’ accents to guide word recognition. These results suggest that episodic memory may not underlie listeners’ ability to use talker-specific knowledge when interpreting speech.