Caicai Zhang

Caicai Zhang
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | PolyU · Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies

Phd
Looking for a postdoc fellow in developmental cognitive neuroscience

About

75
Publications
12,374
Reads
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607
Citations
Citations since 2017
55 Research Items
523 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
Introduction
Dr. Caicai Zhang’s research focuses on the interaction of language with cognitive domains such as music and memory, with three major areas: (1) the relationship of language and music, investigated from the perspective of how congenital amusia affects speech processing; (2) how sleep contributes to the consolidation of speech sound categories in the brain of L2 learners; and (3) the neurocognitive mechanisms of learning and memory problems in children with developmental disorders of language.

Publications

Publications (75)
Article
Full-text available
Pronunciation of words or morphemes may vary systematically in different phonological contexts, but it remains unclear how different levels of phonological information are encoded in speech production. In this study, we investigated the online planning process of Mandarin Tone 3 (T3) sandhi, a case of phonological alternation whereby a low-dipping...
Article
Full-text available
The lack of invariance problem in speech perception refers to a fundamental problem of how listeners deal with differences of speech sounds produced by various speakers. The current study is the first to test the contributions of mentally stored distributional information in normalization of prosodic cues. This study starts out by modelling distrib...
Article
Purpose Although variability of training materials has the potential to benefit the learning of lexical tones, the benefit is contingent on an individual's pitch aptitude. Previous studies did not segregate immediate learning and consolidation after an overnight interval, and little is known about how pitch aptitude differences affect consolidation...
Article
Purpose Evidence increasingly indicates that people with developmental stuttering have auditory perception deficits. Our previous research has indicated similar but slower performance in categorical perception of the speech sounds under the quiet condition in children who stutter and adults who stutter (AWS) compared with their typically fluent cou...
Article
Full-text available
Brain lateralization of lexical tone processing remains a matter of debate. In this study we used a dichotic listening paradigm to examine the influences of the knowledge of Jyutping (a romanization writing system which provides explicit Cantonese tone markers), linguistic-processing demand and tone type on the ear preference pattern of native tone...
Article
Full-text available
The understanding of alternation is a key goal in phonological research. But little is known about how phonological alternations are implemented in speech production. The current study tested the hypothesis that the production of words that undergo a highly productive alternation, Mandarin Tone 3 sandhi, is supported by a computation mechanism, whi...
Article
Purpose A fundamental feature of human speech is variation, including the manner of phonation, as exemplified in the case of whispered speech. In this study, we employed whispered speech to examine an unresolved issue about congenital amusia, a neurodevelopmental disorder of musical pitch processing, which also affects speech pitch processing such...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Context-dependent tonal alternations occur abundantly in many Chinese dialects, but how they are encoded in speech production is still unclear. Previous research on Mandarin third-tone sandhi production has suggested that the encoding of sandhi tonal variant may involve an online computation process in the phonological encoding before articulation,...
Article
The acoustics of lexical tones are highly variable across talkers, and require second-language (L2) learners’ flexibility in accommodating talker-specific tonal variations for successful learning. This study investigated how tone training with high vs. low talker-variability modulated novice learners’ neural responses to non-native tones. A passive...
Article
Full-text available
While the issue of individual variation has been widely studied in second language learning or processing, it is less well understood how perceptual and musical aptitude differences can explain individual variation in native speech processing. In the current study, we make use of tone merger in Hong Kong Cantonese, an ongoing sound change that conc...
Article
Full-text available
A question under debate in psycholinguistics is the nature of the relationship between spoken and written languages. Although it has been extensively shown that orthographic transparency, which varies across writing systems, strongly affects reading performance, its role in speech processing is much less investigated. The present study addressed th...
Article
Full-text available
The acquisition of an alphabetic orthography transforms speech processing in the human brain. Behavioral evidence shows that phonological awareness as assessed by meta-phonological tasks like phoneme judgment, is enhanced by alphabetic literacy acquisition. The current study investigates the time-course of the neuro-cognitive operations underlying...
Article
Full-text available
The current study examined whether or not lexical access is influenced by detailed phonological features during the silent reading of Chinese sentences. We used two types of two-character target words (Mandarin sandhi-tone and base-tone). The first characters of the words in the sandhi-tone condition had a tonal alternation, but no tonal alternatio...
Article
Full-text available
Contrary to studies on speech learning of consonants and vowels, the issue of individual variability is less well understood in the learning of lexical tones. Whereas existing studies have focused on contour-tone learning (Mandarin) by listeners without experience of a tonal language, this study addressed a research gap by investigating the percept...
Article
Stuttering is often attributed to the impaired speech production system, however, there is growing evidence implicating issues in speech perception. Our previous research showed that children who stutter have similar patterns but slower categorical perception (i.e. the ability to categorise different acoustic variations of the speech sounds into th...
Article
Full-text available
Congenital amusia is an inborn neurogenetic disorder of musical pitch processing, which also induces impairment in lexical tone perception. However, it has not been examined before how the brain specialization of lexical tone perception is affected in amusics. The current study adopted the dichotic listening paradigm to examine this issue, testing...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent studies showed that sleep-mediated memory consolidation facilitated learners' generalization across talkers in their perception of novel stop contrasts. Lexical tone is characterized by high variability across talkers. Thus a similar effect of overnight consolidation could be found for perceptual learning of novel tonal contrasts. This study...
Article
Purpose The ability to recognize individuals from their vocalizations is an important trait of human beings. In the current study, we aimed to examine how congenital amusia, an inborn pitch-processing disorder, affects discrimination and identification of talkers' voices. Method Twenty Mandarin-speaking amusics and 20 controls were tested on talke...
Article
Congenital amusia is a lifelong impairment in musical ability. Individuals with amusia are found to show reduced sensitivity to emotion recognition in speech prosody and silent facial expressions, implying a possible cross-modal emotion-processing deficit. However, it is not clear whether the observed deficits are primarily confined to socio-emotio...
Article
Full-text available
Sleep-mediated overnight consolidation has been found to facilitate perceptual learning by promoting learners' generalization across talkers in their perception of novel segmental categories. Lexical tone is characterized by high variability across talkers, and displays dynamic change over time. For this reason, it remains unclear whether a similar...
Presentation
Full-text available
Recent studies showed that sleep-mediated overnight consolidation facilitates perceptual learning by promoting learners' generalization across talkers in their perception of novel segmental categories, for instance, the Hindi dental and retroflex stop contrast [1], [2]. Training studies on the segmental contrast showed that while the overnight cons...
Article
No PDF available ABSTRACT Talker variability affects native and non-native speakers in speech perception of segmentals (e.g., Bent et al., 2010) and suprasegmentals (e.g., Wong and Diehl, 2003). Zhang and Chen (2016) reported that gender-specific F0 range may contribute significantly to Cantonese tone perception. However, a full understanding of ho...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sleep-mediated overnight consolidation was found to facilitate perceptual learning by promoting learners' generalization across talkers in their perception of novel segmental categories. Lexical tone differs from most segmental contrasts in that it is highly variable across talkers, and displays dynamic change over time. It remains unclear whether...
Article
Full-text available
There have been controversial debates across multiple disciplines regarding the underlying mechanism of developmental stuttering. Stuttering is often related to issues in the speech production system; however, the presence and extent of a speech perception deficit is less clear. This study aimed to investigate the speech perception of children who...
Data
The individual data points for d' scores in the CWS and CWNS groups. (XLSX)
Data
The individual data points for boundary position and width in the CWS and CWNS groups. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
Despite the lack of invariance in the mapping between the acoustic signal and phonological representation, typical listeners are capable of using information of a talker's vocal characteristics to recognize phonemes, a process known as “talker normalization”. The current study investigated the time course of talker normalization in typical listener...
Article
While Mixtec languages are well-known for their tonal systems, there remains relatively little work focusing on their consonant inventories. This paper provides an in-depth phonetic description of the consonant system of the Yoloxóchitl Mixtec language (Oto-Manguean, ISO 639-3 code xty ), a Guerrero Mixtec variety. The language possesses a number o...
Article
Purpose Congenital amusia is an inborn neurogenetic disorder of fine-grained pitch processing. This study attempted to pinpoint the impairment mechanism of speech processing in tonal language speakers with amusia. We designed a series of perception tasks aiming at selectively probing low-level pitch processing and relatively high-level phonological...
Article
Congenital amusia is a neuro-developmental disorder of pitch processing. This study investigated how this deficit affects lexical tone perception with and without context. Twenty-three Cantonese-speaking amusics and 23 controls were tested on the identification of high-variation tone stimuli in isolation vs in a carrier sentence. The controls gener...
Preprint
Full-text available
While Mixtec languages are well-known for their tonal systems, there remains relatively little work focusing on their consonant inventories. This paper provides an in-depth phonetic description of the consonant system of the Yoloxóchitl Mixtec language (Oto-Manguean, ISO 639-3 code xty), a Guerrero Mixtec variety. The language possesses a number of...
Article
Human listeners perceive speech sounds relative to acoustic cues in context. In this study the authors examined how congenital amusia, a pitch-processing disorder, affects perceptual normalization of lexical tones according to the distribution of F0 cues in context. Sixteen Cantonese-speaking amusics and 16 controls were tested on the effects of sh...
Article
Important speech cues such as lexical tone and vowel quality are perceptually contrasted to the distribution of those same cues in surrounding contexts. However, it is unclear whether preceding and following contexts have similar influences, and to what extent those influences are modulated by the auditory history of previous trials. To investigate...
Article
Full-text available
The neural underpinnings of congenital amusia, an innate neurogenetic disorder of musical pitch processing, are not well understood. Previous studies suggest that amusia primarily impairs attentive processing (P300) of small pitch deviations in music, leaving pre-attentive pitch processing (mismatch negativity or MMN) more or less intact. However,...
Article
An unresolved question in speech perception is how speech signals with speaker variation are mapped onto their perceptual representations. In this study, this issue was examined using a written-word/spoken-word matching paradigm, where listeners could adjust phonetic expectations of spoken words carrying lexical tones according to speaker-specific...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies on congenital amusia mainly focused on the impaired fronto-temporal pathway. It is possible that neural pathways of amusia patients on a larger scale are affected. In this study, we investigated changes in structural connections by applying both tract-based and network-based analysis to DTI data of 12 subjects with congenital amusi...
Article
Full-text available
Congenital amusia is a lifelong disorder of fine-grained pitch processing in music and speech. However, it remains unclear whether amusia is a pitch-specific deficit, or whether it affects frequency/spectral processing more broadly, such as the perception of formant frequency in vowels, apart from pitch. In this study, in order to illuminate the sc...
Conference Paper
Congenital amusia is a lifelong musical disorder. It has been found that tonal-language speakers with amusia are impaired in lexical tone perception. But it has also been found that tonal-language experience compensates the deficit in certain scenario, reducing prevalence rate of amusia in speakers of a highly complex tonal-language – Cantonese. Th...
Article
Congenital amusia is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder of fine-grained pitch processing. In this fMRI study, we examined the neural bases of congenial amusia in speakers of a tonal language – Cantonese. Previous studies on non-tonal language speakers suggest that the neural deficits of congenital amusia lie in the music-selective neural circui...
Article
Full-text available
This study statistically models perturbation effects of consonants on f0 values of the following vowel in order to quantify the differences between phonetic perturbation effects (i.e., phonetic variation) and phonologised perturbation effects (i.e., tone distinctions). We investigated perturbation effects in a non-tonal language, Japanese and a ton...
Article
Successful speech perception requires accurate mapping of speech signals to linguistic categories despite talker variation in signals. Although factors like intrinsic and context cues have been identified, a full understanding of talker normalization remains to be achieved. In particular, it is important to examine the cocontribution of intrinsic,...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the effect of tone inventories on brain activities underlying pitch without focal attention. We find that the electrophysiological responses to across-category stimuli are larger than those to within-category stimuli when the pitch contours are superimposed on nonspeech stimuli; however, there is no electrophysiological resp...
Article
Full-text available
In Mandarin Chinese, the third tone (T3) is changed to the second tone (T2) or T2-like when followed by another T3 syllable in speech production. It has long been debated whether the production of a linguistic pattern like Mandarin T3 sandhi is operated via a computation mechanism or a lexical mechanism. The computation mechanism is that the sandhi...
Article
Full-text available
Long-term experience with a classifier language influences the speakers' similarity judgment of everyday objects. Previous studies found that speakers of a classifier language, but not speakers of a non-classifier language, judge two objects that can be categorized by a common classifier to be more similar (e.g. Zhang and Schmitt 1998; Saalbach and...
Article
Full-text available
How do listeners recover speech content from acoustic signals, given the immense variability between talkers? In this study, two experiments were conducted on Cantonese level tones, comparing the perception of multi-talker speech stimuli in isolation and within a speech context. Without prior knowledge of a talker's pitch range, listeners resort to...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies found that Mandarin Third Tone (T3) sandhi is productive in novel words and Mandarin-English code-mixing phrases. However, it remains unclear whether the application of T3 sandhi is gradient (sandhi T3 remaining distinct from T2) or categorical (sandhi T3 being identical to T2). This study re-con!rms the productivity of T3 sandhi v...
Article
This paper reports acoustic characteristics of variants of /l/ and their distributions in the sound system of the Nanjing Dialect (NJ) in China. Prevocalic /l/ in NJ is reported to have different variants conditioned by the vowel context, yet no empirical evidence has been provided to support this claim. This study provides an analysis on temporal...
Article
Context is important for recovering language information from talker-induced variability in acoustic signals. In tone perception, previous studies reported similar effects of speech and nonspeech contexts in Mandarin, supporting a general perceptual mechanism underlying tone normalization. However, no supportive evidence was obtained in Cantonese,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Previous studies showed that recognizing a phonetic category produced by different talkers relies on both intrinsic (target-internal) and extrinsic (contextual) cues. Extrinsic cues influence perception when intrinsic cues allow more than one phonetic interpretation. A recent study in this laboratory found that the configuration of tone systems (Ca...
Article
This study investigates the impact of intertalker variations on the process of mapping acoustic variations on tone categories in two different tone languages. Pitch stimuli manipulated from four voice ranges were presented in isolation through a blocked-talker design. Listeners were instructed to identify the stimuli that they heard as lexical tone...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study focuses on the perception of two synthesized Mandarin tones: the high level tone (Tone 1) and the high falling tone (Tone 4), which have been reported difficult for Cantonese learners of Mandarin. As the two tones are distinctive in F0 directions and also vary in F0 onsets, it is worth investigating why Cantonese listeners find them perc...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study investigated the effect of language experience on the categorical perception of Cantonese vowel duration distinction. By comparing Cantonese and Mandarin listeners' performances, we found that: (1) duration change elicited categorical perception in the performance of Cantonese listeners, but not in Mandarin listeners; (2) Cantonese liste...
Article
Full-text available
1. Overview During the last two weeks of June, the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) organized the Summer Institute in Cognitive Sciences 2010 (UQÀM 2010, 21–30 June 2010). This year's topic was "the hardest problem in science" (Christiansen & Kirby 2003a) — the origins of language. Language orig...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper is a preliminary report of the aspiration-conditioned tonal split in Leng-shui-jiang (LSJ hereafter) Chinese. So far no consensus has been reached concerning the intrinsic perturbation of aspiration on the F0 of the following vowel. Conflicting data come from both the same language and different languages. In order to shed light on this...

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Projects

Projects (8)
Project
This research is using behavioral and EEG methods to investigate whether, and if so how, sleep-mediated memory consolidation (i.e.whether sleep intervenes the training and post-test sessions or not) facilitates perceptual learning of non-native tones at behavioral and brain levels in a laboratory setting. The output of this project will generate important knowledge of the plasticity induced during intensive speech learning. The findings will also have implications for our cognitive understanding of how lexical tone is learned as well as our understanding of how to better teach and acquire a new tonal language like Cantonese.
Project
In this project, I would like to investigate the encoding process of tonal alternations by employing behavioral tasks (picture-word interference task, implicit priming/form preparation task) and EEG technique. I will mainly focus on Mandarin, Chaozhou Min and Taiwanese Min dialect.