Publications of Rivera-Gaxiola, M.

Electrophysiological correlates of cross-linguistic speech perception in native English speakers

The present study examined the electrophysiological responses that Native English speakers display during a passive oddball task when they are presented with different types of syllabic contrasts, namely a labial /ba/-dental /da/, a Hindi dental /da/-retroflex /da/ and a within-category (two /ba/ tokens) contrasts. The analyses of the event-related potentials obtained showed that subjects pre-attentively perceive the differences in all experimental conditions, despite not showing such detection behaviourally in the Hindi and within-category conditions. These results support the notion that there is no permanent loss of the initial perceptual abilities that humans have as infants, but that there is an important neural reorganisation which allows the system to overcome the differences detected and only be aware of contrasts that are relevant in the language which will become the subjects native tongue. We also report order asymmetries in the ERP responses and suggest that the percepts and not only the physical attributes of the stimuli have to be considered for the evaluation of the responses obtained. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Electrophysiological correlates of category goodness

We report the results obtained from a behavioural and electrophysiological study. A synthesised continuum going from labial /ba/ to retroflex /da/ through dental /da/ was tested for category goodness. Native English speakers rated different tokens from each category as good, bad or ambiguous. The results showed that not all of the representatives of each category were ideal and that the categories tested have an internal structure. The electrophysiological study evaluated whether event related potentials (ERPs) mirrored the goodness judgements. During a passive oddball task, the same participants were exposed to native /ba/-/da/, Hindi dental /da/-retroflex /da/ and within-category /ba/-/ba/ contrasts. Results showed that participants pre-attentively perceive the differences in all cases, as shown by mis-match negativities (MMN), late positive deflections (LPD) or greater N1 and/or P2 components for deviant stimuli. Acoustic sensitivities, categorical perception and category goodness all contributed to the waveforms obtained. We attribute the ERP effects to a combination of (1) prototypes built from initial sensitivities, (2) reinforcement with exposure to one's native language and (3) no permanent loss of the initial boundaries explains the effects observed. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.