Zora, H., Riad, T., Ylinen, S., & Csépe, V. (2021). Phonological Variations Are Compensated at the Lexical Level: Evidence From Auditory Neural Activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 15:622904. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.622904


To understand the nature of spoken language processing, it is crucial to study how the brain handles regular and arbitrary phonological variations in utterances. This paper investigates the consequences of plausible and implausible variations on lexical access. The main result is consistent with the larger notion that the long-term memory representations for words enable rapid lexical access even in the case of partial auditory information. Irrespective of plausibility, variations are tolerated by the perceptual system, without incurring any lexical cost. The results, however, also pinpoint the potential effects of basic phonological/phonetic processing on compensation for variation. The results are, therefore, crucial to understand the synergy and cross-talk between the low-level pre-lexical and high-level lexical processes during spoken language processing.

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