Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 27;12(1):14635. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18838-w.
The lack of invariance problem in speech perception refers to a fundamental problem of how listeners deal with differences of speech sounds produced by various speakers. The current study is the first to test the contributions of mentally stored distributional information in normalization of prosodic cues. This study starts out by modelling distributions of acoustic cues from a speech corpus. We proceeded to conduct three experiments using both naturally produced lexical tones with estimated distributions and manipulated lexical tones with f0 values generated from simulated distributions. State of the art statistical techniques have been used to examine the effects of distribution parameters in normalization and identification curves with respect to each parameter. Based on the significant effects of distribution parameters, we proposed a probabilistic parametric representation (PPR), integrating knowledge from previously established distributions of speakers with their indexical information. PPR is still accessed during speech perception even when contextual information is present. We also discussed the procedure of normalization of speech signals produced by unfamiliar talker with and without contexts and the access of long-term stored representations.