Speech Prosody 2012

Shanghai, China
May 22-25, 2012

Effects of Temporal Chunking on Speech Recall

Annie C. Gilbert (1,2), Victor J. Boucher (1), Boutheina Jemel (2,3)

(1) Laboratoire de Sciences Phonétiques, Université de Montréal, Canada
(2) Laboratoire de recherche en Neurosciences et Électrophysiologie Cognitive, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Séguin, Canada
(3) École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie, Université de Montréal, Canada

It is established that temporal grouping or “chunking” arises in serial recall as it does in speech. For instance, chunking appears in common tasks like remembering series such as phone numbers. In the present study, we examine how detected chunks in meaningless strings of syllables and meaningful utterances influence memory. We use a Sternberg task where listeners identify whether a heard item was part of a presented context. Such tasks serve to explore if working memory operates in terms of chunks and is influenced by meaning. Observations using evoked potentials ensured that chunks in the heard stimuli were detected by the 20 listeners. The results showed that, for meaningless series, chunk size and position significantly affected listeners' recall and their response times. However, there were no such effects for meaningful utterances. This suggests that memory of novel series operates by chunks. But in dealing with sequences of items that are already in long-term store, chunks may not have a dominant influence on working memory.

Index Terms: speech segmentation, temporal grouping, chunking, working memory, short-term memory.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gilbert, Annie C. / Boucher, Victor J. / Jemel, Boutheina (2012): "Effects of temporal chunking on speech recall", In SP-2012, 524-527.