haskins logo
A-101: Imitation: A Tool for Studying Speech Perception.
(Carol A. Fowler, PI)

Research Goals. The overall aim of the research is to use the demonstrated tendency for adults to imitate the speech they hear as a tool to explore the nature of speech perception. Specifically, the research is designed to test our theory of speech perception that listeners use acoustic speech signals as information for the phonological gestures of the vocal tract that produced them. If that claim is accurate, then to perceive speech is to receive instructions or specifications for an imitative response. We use reaction time paradigms and magnetometry to explore the speed with which people can imitate, the fidelity with which they do so when they are not asked to imitate, and the conditions that foster or reduce the imitative disposition.

Current Status. The grant was funded for four years beginning August 1, 1999 and was renewed beginning August 1, 2003 for a second four year cycle. A renewal application was submitted on November 1, 2006, with a change in PI to Douglas Honorof. This was not funded, but a revision was submitted on November 5, 2007. The project is on a one year unfunded extension.