Speaker-recognition ability of blind and sighted subjects


  • Almut Braun Philipps-Universität Marburg




blind individuals, speaker recognition, forensic phonetics, voice line-up, sensory compensation


Blind individuals are known to outperform sighted ones in a variety of auditory tasks. The present study was carried out to investigate whether the blind possess superior speaker-recognition abilities as well. Approximately one week after subjects were familiarised with the voice of one speaker, they had to recognise him among seven matched foils within two voice line-ups (hi-fi vs cellular telephone quality). As a result, the blind performed significantly better than the sighted under hi-fi condition (p<0.05); however, no performance differences were observed in the line-up with limited signal quality. Decision criteria and proportion of musical listeners did not differ between both groups either, but musical subjects performed significantly better within the blind group. Furthermore, a slight correlation between confidence in decision-making and correct answers was established for both groups in both signal qualities. With regard to sentence types, particularly questions were more often related to correct answers within the blind group.

Author Biography

  • Almut Braun, Philipps-Universität Marburg
    Almut Braun received her MA in German philology, phonetics and linguistic engineering from the University of Marburg in 2010. Currently, she is a PhD student at the University of Marburg investigating speaker identification abilities of the blind. She works as a research assistant in the department of phonetics and has also taught German as a foreign language.






How to Cite

Braun, A. (2012). Speaker-recognition ability of blind and sighted subjects. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 19(2), 159-187. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v19i2.159