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Speech recognition in adverse conditions: A review

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JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
DatePublished - 1 Sep 2012
Issue number7-8
Pages (from-to)953-978
Original languageEnglish


This article presents a review of the effects of adverse conditions (ACs) on the perceptual, linguistic, cognitive, and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying speech recognition. The review starts with a classification of ACs based on their origin: Degradation at the source (production of a noncanonical signal), degradation during signal transmission (interfering signal or medium-induced impoverishment of the target signal), receiver limitations (peripheral, linguistic, cognitive). This is followed by a parallel, yet orthogonal classification of ACs based on the locus of their effect: Perceptual processes, mental representations, attention, and memory functions. We then review the added value that ACs provide for theories of speech recognition, with a focus on fundamental themes in psycholinguistics: Content and format of lexical representations, time-course of lexical access, word segmentation, feed-back in speech perception and recognition, lexical-semantic integration, interface between the speech system and general cognition, neuroanatomical organisation of speech processing. We conclude by advocating an approach to speech recognition that includes rather than neutralises complex listening environments and individual differences.

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