Browsing by Subject "Auditory processing"

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  • Lindstrom, R.; Lepisto-Paisley, T.; Vanhala, R.; Alen, R.; Kujala, T. (2016)
    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by deficient social and communication skills, including difficulties in perceiving speech prosody. The present study addressed processing of emotional prosodic changes (sad, scornful and commanding) in natural word stimuli in typically developed school aged children and in children with ASD and language impairment. We found that the responses to a repetitive word were diminished in amplitude in the children with ASD, reflecting impaired speech encoding. Furthermore, the amplitude of the MMN/LDN component, reflecting cortical discrimination of sound changes, was diminished in the children with ASD for the scornful deviant. In addition, the amplitude of the P3a, reflecting involuntary orienting to attention-catching changes, was diminished in the children with ASD for the scornful deviant and tended to be smaller for the sad deviant. These results suggest that prosody processing in ASD is impaired at various levels of neural processing, including deficient pre-attentive discrimination and involuntary orientation to speech prosody. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Kujala, Teija; Leminen, Miika (2017)
    Abstract In specific language impairment (SLI), there is a delay in the child’s oral language skills when compared with nonverbal cognitive abilities. The problems typically relate to phonological and morphological processing and word learning. This article reviews studies which have used mismatch negativity (MMN) in investigating low-level neural auditory dysfunctions in this disorder. With MMN, it is possible to tap the accuracy of neural sound discrimination and sensory memory functions. These studies have found smaller response amplitudes and longer latencies for speech and non-speech sound changes in children with SLI than in typically developing children, suggesting impaired and slow auditory discrimination in SLI. Furthermore, they suggest shortened sensory memory duration and vulnerability of the sensory memory to masking effects. Importantly, some studies reported associations between MMN parameters and language test measures. In addition, it was found that language intervention can influence the abnormal MMN in children with SLI, enhancing its amplitude. These results suggest that the MMN can shed light on the neural basis of various auditory and memory impairments in SLI, which are likely to influence speech perception.
  • Suppanen, Emma; Winkler, Istvan; Kujala, Teija; Ylinen, Sari (2022)
    Infants are able to extract words from speech early in life. Here we show that the quality of forming longer-term representations for word forms at birth predicts expressive language ability at the age of two years. Seventy-five neonates were familiarized with two spoken disyllabic pseudowords. We then tested whether the neonate brain predicts the second syllable from the first one by presenting a familiarized pseudoword frequently, and occasionally violating the learned syllable combination by different rare pseudowords. Distinct brain responses were elicited by predicted and unpredicted word endings, suggesting that the neonates had learned the familiarized pseudowords. The difference between responses to predicted and unpredicted pseudowords indexing the quality of word-form learning during familiarization significantly correlated with expressive language scores (the mean length of utterance) at 24 months in the same infant. These findings suggest that 1) neonates can memorize disyllabic words so that a learned first syllable generates predictions for the word ending, and 2) early individual differences in the quality of word-form learning correlate with language skills. This relationship helps early identification of infants at risk for language impairment.
  • Virtala, P.; Huotilainen, M.; Partanen, E.; Tervaniemi, Mari (2014)
  • Virtala, Paula; Partanen, Eino; Tervaniemi, Mari; Kujala, Teija (2018)
    To process complex stimuli like language, our auditory system must tolerate large acoustic variance, like speaker variability, and still be sensitive enough to discriminate between phonemes and to detect complex sound relationships in, e.g., prosodic cues. Our study determined discrimination of speech sounds in input mimicking natural speech variability, and detection of deviations in regular pitch relationships (rule violations) between speech sounds. We investigated the automaticity and the influence of attention and explicit awareness on these changes by recording the neurophysiological mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a as well as task performance from 21 adults. The results showed neural discrimination of phonemes and rule violations as indicated by MMN and P3a, regardless of whether the sounds were attended or not, even when participants could not explicitly describe the rule. While small sample size precluded statistical analysis of some outcomes, we still found preliminary associations between the MMN amplitudes, task performance, and emerging explicit awareness of the rule. Our results highlight the automaticity of processing complex aspects of speech as a basis for the emerging conscious perception and explicit awareness of speech properties. While MMN operates at the implicit processing level, P3a appears to work at the borderline of implicit and explicit.
  • Dawson, Caitlin; Aalto, Daniel; Šimko, Juraj; Vainio, Martti (2017)
    The perceived duration of a sound is affected by its fundamental frequency and intensity: higher sounds are judged to be longer, as are sounds with greater intensity. Since increasing intensity lengthens the perceived duration of the auditory object, and increasing the fundamental frequency increases the sounds perceived loudness (up to ca. 3 kHz), frequency modulation of duration could be potentially explained by a confounding effect where the primary cause of the modulation would be variations in intensity. Here, a series of experiments are described that were designed to disentangle the contributions of fundamental frequency, intensity, and duration to perceived loudness and duration. In two forced-choice tasks, participants judged duration and intensity differences between two sounds varying simultaneously in intensity, fundamental frequency, fundamental frequency gliding range, and duration. The results suggest that fundamental frequency and intensity each have an impact on duration judgments, while frequency gliding range did not influence the present results. We also demonstrate that the modulation of perceived duration by sound fundamental frequency cannot be fully explained by the confounding relationship between frequency and intensity.