P18 The ‘Wooftail’ party effect: Effect of Canis Familiaris barks on speech perception
Dogs (Canis Familiaris) are an integral part of many households and hence aptly referred to as ‘man’s best friend. Such close interactions often lead to competing situations where human communication has to happen alongside dog communication. Though the effect of environmental noises on human communication has been studied before, there is a lacuna of reports on the effect of background cross-species vocalizations on human speech perception. Hence, the present study explored the effect of dog barks as a competing signal on human speech perception. Twenty-two normal-hearing native Malayalam speakers (18-25 years) participated in the speech identification experiment. Nine pseudo-words of CVCV syllable shape served as the speech identification stimuli. The syllable /Ba/ served as the first syllable for each word, and the nine most occurring consonants in Malayalam with vowel /a/ constituted the second syllable. Dog barks elicited and recorded in ‘stranger’ emotion served as the competing stimuli. The dog barks from different recording sessions mixed at equal levels made the three dogs and five dogs bark. The stimuli were presented in silence and three dog bark conditions at -10dB SNR (one dog, three dogs, and five dogs). Each of the nine CVCV’s was presented three times across four conditions, making 108 stimulus presentations. The participants responded using a closed set identification task wherein the CVCV’s were listed orthographically, and the participants selected the appropriate option. The results reveal a significant effect of dog barks on the perception of bi-syllabic pairs across all test conditions. The findings will be discussed based on dog bark-induced confusions in the auditory perception, implications of findings, and future directions.