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Problems with click detection: Insights from cross-linguistic comparisons.
Cutler, A., Kearns, R., Norris, D. & Scott, D.R.
Speech Communication, 13, 401-410.
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Cross-linguistic comparisons may shed light on the levels of processing involved in the performance of psycholinguistic tasks. For instance, if the same results appear whether or not subjects understand the experimental materials, it is unlikely that the results reflect higher-level linguistic processing. In this study, English and French listeners performed two tasks - click location and speeded click detection - with both English and French sentences, matched for syntactic and phonological structure. Clicks were located more accurately in open- than in closed-class words in both English and French; they were detected more rapidly in open- than in closed-class words in English, but not in French. The two listener groups produced the same pattern of responses, suggesting that no higher-level linguistic processing was involved. It is concluded that click detection tasks are primarily sensitive to low-level acoustic effects, and hence are not well suited to the investigation of linguistic processing.