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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effects of Onset and Offset Masking on the Time Course of Non-Native Spoken-Word Recognition in Noise


Using the visual-word paradigm, the present study investigated the effects of word onset and offset masking on the time course of non-native spoken-word recognition in the presence of background noise. In two experiments, Dutch non-native listeners heard English target words, preceded by carrier sentences that were noise-free (Experiment 1) or contained intermittent noise (Experiment 2). Target words were either onset- or offset-masked or not masked at all. Analyses showed that onset masking delayed target word recognition more than offset masking did. These results suggest that – in line with contemporary models of spoken-word recognition – non-native listeners strongly rely on word onset information when hearing words in noise.

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