Inhibiting the Lombard effect.


The Lombard effect is the tendency to increase one's vocal intensity in noise. The present study reports three experiments that test the robustness of the Lombard effect when speakers are given instructions and training with visual feedback to help suppress it. The Lombard effect was found to be extremely stable and robust. Instructions alone had little influence on the response to the noise among untrained speakers. When visual feedback correlated with vocal intensity was presented, however, subjects could inhibit the Lombard response. Furthermore, the inhibition remained after the visual feedback was removed. The data are interpreted as indicating that the Lombard response is largely automatic and not ordinarily under volitional control. When subjects do learn to suppress the effect, they seem to do so by changing overall vocal level rather than their specific response to the noise.


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