Comparing online versus laboratory measures of speech perception in older children and adolescents

Tara McAllister, Jonathan L. Preston, Laura Ochs, Jennifer Hill, Elaine R. Hitchcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the increasing prevalence of online data collection, it is important to know how behavioral data obtained online compare to samples collected in the laboratory. This study compares online and in-person measurement of speech perception in older children and adolescents. Speech perception is important for assessment and treatment planning in speech-language pathology; we focus on the American English /r/ sound because of its frequency as a clinical target. Two speech perception tasks were adapted for web presentation using Gorilla: identification of items along a synthetic continuum from rake to wake, and category goodness judgment of English /r/ sounds in words produced by various talkers with and without speech sound disorder. Fifty typical children aged 9-15 completed these tasks online using a standard headset. These data were compared to a previous sample of 98 typical children aged 9-15 who completed the same tasks in the lab setting. For the identification task, participants exhibited smaller boundary widths (suggestive of more acute perception) in the in-person setting relative to the online setting. For the category goodness judgment task, there was no statistically significant effect of modality. The correlation between scores on the two tasks was significant in the online setting but not in the in-person setting, but the difference in correlation strength was not statistically significant. Overall, our findings agree with previous research in suggesting that online and in-person data collection do not yield identical results, but the two contexts tend to support the same broad conclusions. In addition, these results suggest that online data collection can make it easier for researchers connect with a more representative sample of participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0297530
JournalPloS one
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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