Duplex perception

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Duplex perception refers to the linguistic phenomenon whereby "part of the acoustic signal is used for both a speech and a non-speech perceptive." A listener is presented with two simultaneous, dichotic stimuli. One ear receives an isolated third-formant transition that sounds like a non-speech chirp. At the same time the other ear receives a base syllable. This base syllable consists of the first two formants, complete with formant transitions, and the third formant without a transition. Normally, there would be peripheral masking in such a binaural listening task but this does not occur. Instead, the listener’s perceptive is duplex, that is, the completed syllable is perceived and the non-speech chirp is heard at the same time. This is interpreted as being due to the existence of a special speech module.

The phenomenon was discovered in 1974 by Timothy C. Rand at the Haskins Laboratories associated with Yale University. [1]

Duplex perception was argued as evidence for the existence of distinct systems for general auditory perception and speech perception.[2] It is also notable that this same phenomenon can be obtained with slamming doors.[3]


  1. ^ Rand, T. C. (1974). "Letter: Dichotic release from masking for speech". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 55 (3): 678–680. doi:10.1121/1.1914584. PMID 4819869.  edit
  2. ^ Liberman, A. M.; Isenberg, D.; Rakerd, B. (1981). "Duplex perception of cues for stop consonants: Evidence for a phonetic mode". Perception & psychophysics 30 (2): 133–143. PMID 7301513.  edit
  3. ^ Fowler, C. A.; Rosenblum, L. D. (1990). "Duplex perception: A comparison of monosyllables and slamming doors". Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance 16 (4): 742–754. PMID 2148589.  edit

See also[edit]