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  • Grimaldi, Mirko; Sisinni, Bianca; Fivela, Barbara Gili; Invitto, Sara; Resta, Donatella; Alku, Paava; Brattico, Elvira (2014)
  • 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.
  • Nowak, Kamila; Oron, Anna; Szymaszek, Aneta; Leminen, Miika; Naatanen, Risto; Szelag, Elzbieta (2016)
    The present study investigates age-related changes in duration discrimination in millisecond time domain. We tested young (N = 20, mean age = 24.5, SD = 2.97) and elderly (N = 20, mean age = 65.2, SD = 2.94) subjects using the mismatch negativity (MMN) paradigm. White-noise bursts of two different durations (50 and 10 ms) were presented in two oddball blocks. In one block (Increment Condition), the repetitive sequence of 10 ms standards was interspersed by occasional 50 ms deviants. In the Decrement Condition, the roles of the two stimuli were reversed. We analyzed the P1-N1 complex, MMN and P3a and found the effect of age for all these components. Moreover, the impact of stimulus presentation condition (increment/decrement) was observed for MMN and P3a. Our results confirmed the previous evidence for deteriorated duration discrimination in elderly people. Additionally, we found that this effect may be influenced by procedural factors.
  • Putkinen, Vesa; Saarikivi, Katri; Chan, Tsz Man Vanessa; Tervaniemi, Mari (2021)
    Previous work suggests that musical training in childhood is associated with enhanced executive functions. However, it is unknown whether this advantage extends to selective attention-another central aspect of executive control. We recorded a well-established event-related potential (ERP) marker of distraction, the P3a, during an audio-visual task to investigate the maturation of selective attention in musically trained children and adolescents aged 10-17 years and a control group of untrained peers. The task required categorization of visual stimuli, while a sequence of standard sounds and distracting novel sounds were presented in the background. The music group outperformed the control group in the categorization task and the younger children in the music group showed a smaller P3a to the distracting novel sounds than their peers in the control group. Also, a negative response elicited by the novel sounds in the N1/MMN time range (similar to 150-200 ms) was smaller in the music group. These results indicate that the music group was less easily distracted by the task-irrelevant sound stimulation and gated the neural processing of the novel sounds more efficiently than the control group. Furthermore, we replicated our previous finding that, relative to the control group, the musically trained children and adolescents performed faster in standardized tests for inhibition and set shifting. These results provide novel converging behavioral and electrophysiological evidence from a cross-modal paradigm for accelerated maturation of selective attention in musically trained children and adolescents and corroborate the association between musical training and enhanced inhibition and set shifting.