Effects of acoustic and semantic cues on listening effort during native and non-native speech perception.J Acoust Soc Am. 2020 Jun; 147(6):3783.JA
Relative to native listeners, non-native listeners who are immersed in a second language environment experience increased listening effort and a reduced ability to successfully perform an additional task while listening. Previous research demonstrated that listeners can exploit a variety of intelligibility-enhancing cues to cope with adverse listening conditions. However, little is known about the implications of those speech perception strategies for listening effort. The current research aims to investigate by means of pupillometry how listening effort is modulated in native and non-native listeners by the availability of semantic context and acoustic enhancements during the comprehension of spoken sentences. For this purpose, semantic plausibility and speaking style were manipulated both separately and in combination during a speech perception task in noise. The signal to noise ratio was individually adjusted for each participant in order to target 50% intelligibility level. Behavioural results indicated that native and non-native listeners were equally able to fruitfully exploit both semantic and acoustic cues to aid their comprehension. Pupil data indicated that listening effort was reduced for both groups of listeners when acoustic enhancements were available, while the presence of a plausible semantic context did not lead to a reduction in listening effort.