Browsing by Subject "LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE"

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  • Dawson, Caitlin; Tervaniemi, Mari; Aalto, Daniel (2018)
    Both musical training and native language have been shown to have experience-based plastic effects on auditory processing. However, the combined effects within individuals are unclear. Recent research suggests that musical training and tone language speaking are not clearly additive in their effects on processing of auditory features and that there may be a disconnect between perceptual and neural signatures of auditory feature processing. The literature has only recently begun to investigate the effects of musical expertise on basic auditory processing for different linguistic groups. This work provides a profile of primary auditory feature discrimination for Mandarin speaking musicians and nonmusicians. The musicians showed enhanced perceptual discrimination for both frequency and duration as well as enhanced duration discrimination in a multifeature discrimination task, compared to nonmusicians. However, there were no differences between the groups in duration processing of nonspeech sounds at a subcortical level or in subcortical frequency representation of a nonnative tone contour, for f(o) or for the first or second formant region. The results indicate that musical expertise provides a cognitive, but not subcortical, advantage in a population of Mandarin speakers.
  • Bosseler, Alexis N.; Teinonen, Tuomas; Tervaniemi, Mari; Huotilainen, Minna (2016)
    Statistical learning and the social contexts of language addressed to infants are hypothesized to play important roles in early language development. Previous behavioral work has found that the exaggerated prosodic contours of infant-directed speech (IDS) facilitate statistical learning in 8-month-old infants. Here we examined the neural processes involved in on-line statistical learning and investigated whether the use of IDS facilitates statistical learning in sleeping newborns. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while newborns were exposed to 12 pseudo-words, six spoken with exaggerated pitch contours of IDS and six spoken without exaggerated pitch contours (ADS) in ten alternating blocks. We examined whether ERP amplitudes for syllable position within a pseudo-word (word-initial vs. word-medial vs. word-final, indicating statistical word learning) and speech register (ADS vs. IDS) would interact. The ADS and IDS registers elicited similar ERP patterns for syllable position in an early 0-100 ms component but elicited different ERP effects in both the polarity and topographical distribution at 200-400 ms and 450-650 ms. These results provide the first evidence that the exaggerated pitch contours of IDS result in differences in brain activity linked to on-line statistical learning in sleeping newborns.
  • Dawson, Caitlin; Aalto, Daniel; Simko, Juraj; Vainio, Martti; Tervaniemi, Mari (2017)
    Musical experiences and native language are both known to affect auditory processing. The present work aims to disentangle the influences of native language phonology and musicality on behavioral and subcortical sound feature processing in a population of musically diverse Finnish speakers as well as to investigate the specificity of enhancement from musical training. Finnish speakers are highly sensitive to duration cues since in Finnish, vowel and consonant duration determine word meaning. Using a correlational approach with a set of behavioral sound feature discrimination tasks, brainstem recordings, and a musical sophistication questionnaire, we find no evidence for an association between musical sophistication and more precise duration processing in Finnish speakers either in the auditory brainstem response or in behavioral tasks, but they do show an enhanced pitch discrimination compared to Finnish speakers with less musical experience and show greater duration modulation in a complex task. These results are consistent with a ceiling effect set for certain sound features which corresponds to the phonology of the native language, leaving an opportunity for music experience-based enhancement of sound features not explicitly encoded in the language (such as pitch, which is not explicitly encoded in Finnish). Finally, the pattern of duration modulation in more musically sophisticated Finnish speakers suggests integrated feature processing for greater efficiency in a real world musical situation. These results have implications for research into the specificity of plasticity in the auditory system as well as to the effects of interaction of specific language features with musical experiences.