Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2017

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

David Gow

Second Advisor

Benjamin Miller

Abstract

The process of understanding speech perception is one that also poses a handful of questions. The motor theory of speech perception was proposed to resolve some of these issues that arose. While this accounts for things like coarticulation, the evidence for both sides of the fence is mixed. The discovery of mirror neurons and the findings of fMRI studies support the motor theory, whereas work done with Japanese quails tends to contradict this. The current study explores the speech phenomenon the McGurk effect, what happens when an individual fuses the speech sounds they hear with the one they see being articulated. The problem that comes up is whether the McGurk effect is a result of articulatory cues or training. To examine this claim in a different way than in the past, eighteen subjects were taught the speech perception method of Tadoma. After two days of training, the participants were given mismatched sounds that would potentially result in a McGurk effect. The number of fused responses from subjects increased after the training; however the statistic was not significant. Therefore, it can be concluded that while more of a McGurk effect did in fact appear after the two days of training, it was not valuable enough to prove that speech perception is a product of experience and not just articulatory information.

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