Consonant identification is N-talker babble is a nonmonotonic function of N


Abstract  Consonant identification rates were measured for vowel-consonant-vowel tokens gated with N-talker babble noise and babble-modulated noise for an extensive range of N, at a fixed signal-to-noise ratio. In the natural babble condition, intelligibility was a nonmonotonic function of N, with a broad performance minimum from N=6 to N=128. Identification rates in babble-modulated noise fell gradually with N. The contributions of factors such as energetic masking, linguistic confusion, attentional load, peripheral adaptation, and stationarity to the perception of consonants in N-talker babble are discussed.

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