The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
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When the spatial location or identity of a sound is held constant, it is not masked as effectively by competing sounds. This suggests that experience with a particular voice over time might facilitate perceptual organization in multitalker environments. The current study examines whether listeners benefit from experience with a voice only when it is the target, or also when it is a masker, using diotic presentation and a closed-set task (coordinate response measure). A reliable interaction was observed such that, in two-talker mixtures, consistency of masker or target voice over 3-7 trials significantly benefited target recognition performance, whereas in three-talker mixtures, target, but not masker, consistency was beneficial. Overall, this work suggests that voice consistency improves intelligibility, although somewhat differently when two talkers, compared to three talkers, are present, suggesting that consistent-voice information facilitates intelligibility in at least two different ways. Listeners can use a template-matching strategy to extract a known voice from a mixture when it is the target. However, consistent-voice information facilitates segregation only when two, but not three, talkers are present.