Experience-Based Auditory Map Formation and the Perceptual Magnet Effect

  • Marin N. Gjaja
  • Frank H. Guenther


The perceptual magnet effect (e.g., Kuhl, 1991, 1995) is one of the most actively discussed topics in the recent speech perception literature. The effect is characterized by a warping of perceptual space such that acoustic patterns near phonemic category centers are perceived as closer together than equally spaced acoustic patterns that are further away from phonemic category centers. This language-specific effect is evident in infants by six months of age and is maintained through adulthood (Kuhl, 1991). In this paper we propose an explanation for the perceptual magnet effect using a self-organizing feature map neural network (e.g., von der Malsburg, 1973; Kohonen, 1982). This model is a component of a larger computational modeling framework of speech development, perception, and production called DIVA (Guenther, 1995).


Synaptic Weight Magnet Effect Population Vector Neural Representation Perceptual Space 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marin N. Gjaja
    • 1
  • Frank H. Guenther
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive and Neural SystemsBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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