Behavioral Cybernetics Laboratory, University of Wisconsin
The purpose of this paper is to promote consideration of a neurophysiologically oriented theory of speech perception. This theory holds that the phonological attributes of human speech are decoded by neurosensory receptive fields operating as "feature detectors" These fields are held to be innately structured to detect, and respond to, the various distinguishing physical parameters of the acoustic sound stream. Neurophysiological, psychophysical, and developmental evidence is cited to support such a position. A feature detector theory appears to provide an explanation for many phenomena revealed by speech perception research.