Laurence Séraphin-Thibon, Silvain Gerber and Sonia Kandel

Carolina Sánchez-García, Sonia Kandel, Christophe Savariaux and Salvador Soto-Faraco

Speech unfolds in time and, as a consequence, its perception requires temporal integration. Yet, studies addressing audio-visual speech processing have often overlooked this temporal aspect. Here, we address the temporal course of audio-visual speech processing in a phoneme identification task using a Gating paradigm. We created disyllabic Spanish word-like utterances (e.g., /pafa/, /paθa/, …) from high-speed camera recordings. The stimuli differed only in the middle consonant (/f/, /θ/, /s/, /r/, /g/), which varied in visual and auditory saliency. As in classical Gating tasks, the utterances were presented in fragments of increasing length (gates), here in 10 ms steps, for identification and confidence ratings. We measured correct identification as a function of time (at each gate) for each critical consonant in audio, visual and audio-visual conditions, and computed the Identification Point and Recognition Point scores. The results revealed that audio-visual identification is a time-varying process that depends on the relative strength of each modality (i.e., saliency). In some cases, audio-visual identification followed the pattern of one dominant modality (either A or V), when that modality was very salient. In other cases, both modalities contributed to identification, hence resulting in audio-visual advantage or interference with respect to unimodal conditions. Both unimodal dominance and audio-visual interaction patterns may arise within the course of identification of the same utterance, at different times. The outcome of this study suggests that audio-visual speech integration models should take into account the time-varying nature of visual and auditory saliency.


Olga Soler Vilageliu, Sonia Kandel and Melina Aparici Aznar

Carolina Sánchez-García, Sonia Kandel, Christophe Savariaux, Nara Ikumi and Salvador Soto-Faraco

When both present, visual and auditory information are combined in order to decode the speech signal. Past research has addressed to what extent visual information contributes to distinguish confusable speech sounds, but usually ignoring the continuous nature of speech perception. Here we tap at the temporal course of the contribution of visual and auditory information during the process of speech perception. To this end, we designed an audio–visual gating task with videos recorded with high speed camera. Participants were asked to identify gradually longer fragments of pseudowords varying in the central consonant. Different Spanish consonant phonemes with different degree of visual and acoustic saliency were included, and tested on visual-only, auditory-only and audio–visual trials. The data showed different patterns of contribution of unimodal and bimodal information during identification, depending on the visual saliency of the presented phonemes. In particular, for phonemes which are clearly more salient in one modality than the other, audio–visual performance equals that of the best unimodal. In phonemes with more balanced saliency, audio–visual performance was better than both unimodal conditions. These results shed new light on the temporal course of audio–visual speech integration.