Auditory perceptual simulation: Simulating speech rates or accents?

Peiyun Zhou, Kiel Christianson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When readers engage in Auditory Perceptual Simulation (APS) during silent reading, they mentally simulate characteristics of voices attributed to a particular speaker or a character depicted in the text. Previous research found that auditory perceptual simulation of a faster native English speaker during silent reading led to shorter reading times that auditory perceptual simulation of a slower non-native English speaker. Yet, it was uncertain whether this difference was triggered by the different speech rates of the speakers, or by the difficulty of simulating an unfamiliar accent. The current study investigates this question by comparing faster Indian-English speech and slower American-English speech in the auditory perceptual simulation paradigm. Analyses of reading times of individual words and the full sentence reveal that the auditory perceptual simulation effect again modulated reading rate, and auditory perceptual simulation of the faster Indian-English speech led to faster reading rates compared to auditory perceptual simulation of the slower American-English speech. The comparison between this experiment and the data from Zhou and Christianson (2016) demonstrate further that the "speakers'" speech rates, rather than the difficulty of simulating a non-native accent, is the primary mechanism underlying auditory perceptual simulation effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalActa Psychologica
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Accent
  • Auditory Perpetual Simulation
  • Eye-tracking
  • Native and non-native speech
  • Reading
  • Speech rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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