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This study reports differential category retuning effect between [i] and [u]. Two groups of American listeners were exposed to ambiguous vowels ([i/u]) within words that index a phoneme /i/ (e.g., athl[i/u]t) (i-group) or /u/ (e.g., aftern[i/u]n) (u-group). Before and after the exposure these listeners categorized sounds from a [bip]-[bup] continuum. The i-group significantly increased /bip/ responses after exposure, but the u-group did not change their responses significantly. These results suggest that the way mental representation handles phonetic variation may influence malleability of each category, highlighting the complex relationship among distribution of sounds, their mental representation, and speech perception.


Copyright 2017 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in Reiko Kataoka and Hahn Koo, Comparing malleability of phonetic category between [i] and [u], The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 2017 142:1, EL42-EL48, and may be found at SJSU users: use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.