Zunaira Iqbal

UC Merced

“Neural Mechanisms of Phonemic Restoration in Bilingual Listeners”

Phonemic restoration (PR) is an auditory phenomenon in which listeners perceptually fill-in a missing speech segment replaced by noise—thus perceiving the speech as continuous through the noise (Samuel, 1981; Warren, 1970). Prior electroencephalography (EEG) work has shown reduced brain-response amplitudes when listeners fill-in the missing speech, suggesting inhibition of interruption boundaries. (Shahin et al., 2012). Moreover, bilinguals have worse language comprehension of their second language in noisy conditions specific (Mayo et al., 1997), but little is known about their ability to restore missing speech. The goal of this experiment is to uncover the neural mechanisms underlying bilinguals’ restoration of degraded speech by gauging PR efficacy and using EEG. We tested whether bilinguals exhibit greater inhibition to interruption boundaries, compared to monolinguals, during active versus passive listening.


My research interests span across neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, perceptual psychology, and bilingualism. Specifically, my work relates to speech perception in bilinguals, and how different contexts, such as noise, visual information, and attention play a role in shaping our perception.

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