@misc{cogprints751, title = {Phonemes and Syllables in Speech Perception: size of the attentional focus in French.}, author = {Christophe Pallier}, publisher = {University of Patras, Rion, Greece}, year = {1997}, pages = {2159--2162}, keywords = {Psycholinguisics, unit of perception, speech, phoneme, syllable, attention, detection, reaction-times, phonological structure, segmentation}, url = {http://cogprints.org/751/}, abstract = {A study by Pitt and Samuel (1990) found that English speakers could narrowly focus attention onto a precise phonemic position inside spoken words [1]. This led the authors to argue that the phoneme, rather than the syllable, is the primary unit of speech perception. Other evidence, obtained with a syllable detection paradigm, has been put forward to propose that the syllable is the unit of perception; yet, these experiments were ran with French speakers [2]. In the present study, we adapted Pitt \& Samuel's phoneme detection experiment to French and found that French subjects behave exactly like English subjects: they too can focus attention on a precise phoneme. To explain both this result and the established sensitivity to the syllabic structure, we propose that the perceptual system automatically parses the speech signal into a syllabically-structured phonological representation.} }