Browsing by Subject "ERPs"

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  • Rämä, Pia; Leminen, Alina; Koskenoja-Vainikka, Satu; Leminen, Miika; Alho, Kimmo; Kujala, Teija (2018)
    Dual language experience has typically been shown to improve various executive control functions. We investigated with event-related brain potentials (ERPs) recorded from early (natively) bilingual speakers and control participants whether it also affects auditory selective attention. We delivered to our participants two tone streams, one to the left and one to the right ear. Both streams consisted of standard tones and two types of infrequent deviant tones which had either an enhanced duration or intensity. The participants were instructed to attend either to the right or left stream and to detect longer-duration deviants in the attended stream. The results showed that the early bilinguals did not outperform the controls in target detection accuracy or speed. However, the late portion of the attention-related ERP modulation (the negative difference, Nd) was larger over the left hemisphere in the early bilinguals than in the controls, suggesting that the maintenance of selective attention or further processing of selectively attended sounds is enhanced in the bilinguals. Moreover, the late reorienting negativity (RON) in response to intensity-deviant tones was larger in the bilinguals, suggesting more efficient disengagement of attention from distracting auditory events. Hence, our results demonstrate that brain responses associated with certain aspects of auditory attention are enhanced in the bilingual adults, indicating that early dual language exposure modulates the neuronal responsiveness of auditory modality.
  • 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.
  • Haapala, Sini; Niemitalo-Haapola, Elina; Raappana, Antti; Kujala, Tiia; Suominen, Kalervo; Jansson-Verkasalo, Eira; Kujala, Teija (2016)
    Background: A large group of young children are exposed to repetitive middle ear infections but the effects of the fluctuating hearing sensations on immature central auditory system are not fully understood. The present study investigated the consequences of early childhood recurrent acute otitis media (RAOM) on involuntary auditory attention switching. Methods: By utilizing auditory event-related potentials, neural mechanisms of involuntary attention were studied in 22-26 month-old children (N = 18) who had had an early childhood RAOM and healthy controls (N = 19). The earlier and later phase of the P3a (eP3a and lP3a) and the late negativity (LN) were measured for embedded novel sounds in the passive multi-feature paradigm with repeating standard and deviant syllable stimuli. The children with RAOM had tympanostomy tubes inserted and all the children in both study groups had to have clinically healthy ears at the time of the measurement assessed by an otolaryngologist. Results: The results showed that lP3a amplitude diminished less from frontal to central and parietal areas in the children with RAOM than the controls. This might reflect an immature control of involuntary attention switch. Furthermore, the LN latency was longer in children with RAOM than in the controls, which suggests delayed reorientation of attention in RAOM. Conclusions: The lP3a and LN responses are affected in toddlers who have had a RAOM even when their ears are healthy. This suggests detrimental long-term effects of RAOM on the neural mechanisms of involuntary attention.
  • 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.