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Open Access Language–General Auditory–Visual Speech Perception: Thai–English and Japanese–English McGurk Effects

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Language–General Auditory–Visual Speech Perception: Thai–English and Japanese–English McGurk Effects

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Affiliations: 1: 1MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia ; 2: 2University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Cross-language McGurk Effects are used to investigate the locus of auditory–visual speech integration. Experiment 1 uses the fact that [], as in ‘sing’, is phonotactically legal in word-final position in English and Thai, but in word-initial position only in Thai. English and Thai language participants were tested for ‘n’ perception from auditory [m]/visual [] (A[m]V[]) in word-initial and -final positions. Despite English speakers’ native language bias to label word-initial [] as ‘n’, the incidence of ‘n’ percepts to A[m]V[] was equivalent for English and Thai speakers in final and initial positions. Experiment 2 used the facts that (i) [ð] as in ‘that’ is not present in Japanese, and (ii) English speakers respond more often with ‘tha’ than ‘da’ to A[ba]V[ga], but more often with ‘di’ than ‘thi’ to A[bi]V[gi]. English and three groups of Japanese language participants (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced English knowledge) were presented with A[ba]V[ga] and A[bi]V[gi] by an English (Experiment 2a) or a Japanese (Experiment 2b) speaker. Despite Japanese participants’ native language bias to perceive ‘d’ more often than ‘th’, the four groups showed a similar phonetic level effect of [a]/[i] vowel context × ‘th’ vs. ‘d’ responses to A[b]V[g] presentations. In Experiment 2b this phonetic level interaction held, but was more one-sided as very few ‘th’ responses were evident, even in Australian English participants. Results are discussed in terms of a phonetic plus postcategorical model, in which incoming auditory and visual information is integrated at a phonetic level, after which there are post-categorical phonemic influences.


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