Because laboratory studies are conducted in optimal listening conditions, often with highly stylized stimuli that attenuate or eliminate some naturally occurring cues, results may have constrained applicability to the “real world.” Such studies show that English-speaking adults weight vocalic duration greatly and formant offsets slightly in voicing decisions for word-final obstruents. Using more natural stimuli, Nittrouer [J. Acoust. Soc. Am.115, 1777

1790
(2004)] found different results, raising questions about what would happen if experimental conditions were even more like the real world. In this study noise was used to simulate the real world. Edited natural words with voiced and voiceless final stops were presented in quiet and noise to adults and children (4to8years) for labeling. Hypotheses tested were (1) Adults (and perhaps older children) would weight vocalic duration more in noise than in quiet; (2) Previously reported age-related differences in cue weighting might not be found in this real-world simulation; and (3) Children would experience greater masking than adults. Results showed: (1) no increase for any age listeners in the weighting of vocalic duration in noise; (2) age-related differences in the weighting of cues in both quiet and noise; and (3) masking effects for all listeners, but more so for children than adults.

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