In the phonemic restoration effect, an experimenter uses a computer to delete
or mask a particular sound in a sentence in which the context clearly indicates
what the missing sound should be (Warren, 1970). The experimenter then asks the
participant what he or she just heard. For example, the sentence might be
British viewers flocked to the opening **ight performance of Doctor Who.
In this sentence, the “n” sound in night has been replaced by white noise, represented here by the double asterisk. Thus, the “n” sound is not actually present, but listeners are asked what they heard. Indeed, listeners report hearing the word night, complete with the “n” sound that is not physically present. It is not merely that they infer that the word must be night; participants actually hear the missing sound.
In this illustration, we will use speech blanking to illustrate phonemic restoration. You will hear passage from a rather famous text being read and periodically the volume will be turned all the way off for a period of time. You can manipulate how much of the text is being removed and see how it impacts your comprehension of the passage.
To see the illustration in full screen, which is recommended, press the Full Screen button, which appears at the top of the page.
Below is a list of the ways that you can alter the illustration. The settings include the following:
Play: start the reading of the passage.
The button will then change to Pause and
pressing it again will stop the sound.
Percent Blocked: chose how much of the passage will be blocked.
Intensity: change the intensity of the sound.
Pressing this button restores the settings to their default values.