Public seminar series PsyNCog 2019-2020

15/10/2019 - Salle Duyckaerts - B32

Régine Kolinsky (ULB): *The effects of literacy on speech perception and verbal memory*


I will first discuss the ways literacy acquisition might affect speech perception. Our former work (Serniclaes, et al., 2005) had reported that illiterate adults did not differ in categorical perception from literate ones, although they displayed a less precise categorical boundary. This result suggests that the categorical perception anomalies displayed by some dyslexic individuals are a cause rather than a consequence of their reading problems. However, in that study, illiterate people displayed a stronger lexical bias compared to literates. I will present new data showing more convincingly that indeed literacy does not impact categorical perception, but only categorical precision. I will then discuss whether these categorical perception results might be interpreted as suggesting an implicit use of phonemes by illiterate people, who are notoriously known to be unaware of the phonemes. To this aim, I will turn to the re-examination of speech perception errors (“migrations”, cf. e.g., Kolinsky & Morais, 1996). Lastly, I will present new data on the impact of literacy on verbal memory and discuss whether it is related to its impact on speech perception, or rather to higher-order processes

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