Representations and representational specificity in speech perception and spoken word recognition

David B. Pisoni, Susannah V. Levi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article examines how new approaches-coupled with previous insights-provide a new framework for questions that deal with the nature of phonological and lexical knowledge and representation, processing of stimulus variability, and perceptual learning and adaptation. First, it outlines the traditional view of speech perception and identifies some problems with assuming such a view, in which only abstract representations exist. The article then discusses some new approaches to speech perception that retain detailed information in the representations. It also considers a view which rejects abstraction altogether, but shows that such a view has difficulty dealing with a range of linguistic phenomena. After providing a brief discussion of some new directions in linguistics that encode both detailed information and abstraction, the article concludes by discussing the coupling of speech perception and spoken word recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743955
ISBN (Print)9780198568971
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Abstract representations
  • Abstraction
  • Linguistics
  • Perceptual learning
  • Speech perception
  • Spoken word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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