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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Lexically-Mediated Compensation for Coarticulation in Older Adults


The claim that contextual knowledge exerts a top-down influence on sensory processing is supported by evidence for lexically-mediated compensation for coarticulation (LCfC) in spoken language processing. In this phenomenon, a lexically restored context phoneme (e.g., the final phoneme in Christma# or fooli#) influences perception of a subsequent target phoneme (e.g., a phoneme ambiguous between /t/ and /k/). A recent report shows that carefully vetted materials produce robust, replicable LCfC effects in younger adults (18-34 years old). Here, we asked whether we would observe LCfC in a sample of older adults (aged 60+). This is of interest because older adults must often contend with age-related declines in sensory processing, with previous research suggesting that older adults may compensate for age-related changes by relying more strongly on contextual knowledge. We observed robust LCfC effects in younger and older samples, with no significant difference in the effect size between age groups.

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