Methodological considerations for interpreting the Language Familiarity Effect in talker processing

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The Language Familiarity Effect (LFE)—where listeners are better at processing talker-voice information in their native language than in an unfamiliar language—has received renewed attention in the past 10 years. Numerous studies have sought to probe the underlying causes of this advantage by cleverly manipulating aspects of the stimuli (using phonologically related languages, backwards speech, nonwords) and by examining individual differences across listeners (testing reading ability and pitch perception). Most of these studies find evidence for the importance of phonological information or phonological processing as a supporting mechanism for the LFE. What has not been carefully examined, however, are how other methodological considerations such as task effects and stimulus length can change performance on talker-voice processing tasks. In this review, I provide an overview of the literature on the LFE and examine how methodological decisions affect the presence or absence of the LFE. This article is categorized under: Linguistics > Language in Mind and Brain Psychology > Language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1483
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • Speech perception
  • talker perception
  • talker recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Psychology


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