Browsing by Subject "SPEECH-PERCEPTION"

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  • Nora, Anni; Renvall, Hanna; Kim, Jeong-Young; Salmelin, Riitta; Elisabet Serv (2015)
    Temporal and frontal activations have been implicated in learning of novel word forms, but their specific roles remain poorly understood. The present magnetoencephalography (MEG) study examines the roles of these areas in processing newly-established word form representations. The cortical effects related to acquiring new phonological word forms during incidental learning were localized. Participants listened to and repeated back new word form stimuli that adhered to native phonology (Finnish pseudowords) or were foreign (Korean words), with a subset of the stimuli recurring four times. Subsequently, a modified 1-back task and a recognition task addressed whether the activations modulated by learning were related to planning for overt articulation, while parametrically added noise probed reliance on developing memory representations during effortful perception. Learning resulted in decreased left superior temporal and increased bilateral frontal premotor activation for familiar compared to new items. The left temporal learning effect persisted in all tasks and was strongest when stimuli were embedded in intermediate noise. In the noisy conditions, native phonotactics evoked overall enhanced left temporal activation. In contrast, the frontal learning effects were present only in conditions requiring overt repetition and were more pronounced for the foreign language. The results indicate a functional dissociation between temporal and frontal activations in learning new phonological word forms: the left superior temporal responses reflect activation of newlyestablished word-form representations, also during degraded sensory input, whereas the frontal premotor effects are related to planning for articulation and are not preserved in noise.
  • Simon, Júlia; Balla, Viktoria Roxana (2020)
    The study investigated auditory temporal processing on a tens of milliseconds scale that is the interval when two consecutive stimuli are processed either together or as distinct events. Distinctiveness is defined by one's ability to make correct order judgments of the presented sounds and is measured via the spatial temporal order judgement task (TOJ). The study aimed to identify electrophysiological indices of the TOJ performance. Tone pairs were presented with inter-stimulus intervals (ISI) varying between 25 and 75 ms while EEG was recorded. A pronounced amplitude change in the P2 interval was found between the event-related potential (ERP) of tone pairs having ISI = 55 and 65 ms, but it was a characteristic only of the group having poor behavioral thresholds. With the two groups combined, the amplitude change between these ERPs in the P2 interval showed a medium-size correlation with the behavioral threshold.
  • Harkonen, Kati; Kivekas, Ilkka; Kotti, Voitto; Sivonen, Ville; Vasama, Juha-Pekka (2017)
    The objective of the present study is to evaluate the effect of hybrid cochlear implantation (hCI) on quality of life (QoL), quality of hearing (QoH), and working performance in adult patients, and to compare the long-term results of patients with hCI to those of patients with conventional unilateral cochlear implantation (CI), bilateral CI, and single-sided deafness (SSD) with CI. Sound localization accuracy and speech-in-noise test were also compared between these groups. Eight patients with high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss of unknown etiology were selected in the study. Patients with hCI had better long-term speech perception in noise than uni- or bilateral CI patients, but the difference was not statistically significant. The sound localization accuracy was equal in the hCI, bilateral CI, and SSD patients. QoH was statistically significantly better in bilateral CI patients than in the others. In hCI patients, residual hearing was preserved in all patients after the surgery. During the 3.6-year follow-up, the mean hearing threshold at 125-500 Hz decreased on average by 15 dB HL in the implanted ear. QoL and working performance improved significantly in all CI patients. Hearing outcomes with hCI are comparable to the results of bilateral CI or CI with SSD, but hearing in noise and sound localization are statistically significantly better than with unilateral CI. Interestingly, the impact of CI on QoL, QoH, and working performance was similar in all groups.
  • Wikman, Patrik; Rinne, Teemu (2019)
    A number of previous studies have implicated regions in posterior auditory cortex (AC) in auditory-motor integration during speech production. Other studies, in turn, have shown that activation in AC and adjacent regions in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) is strongly modulated during active listening and depends on task requirements. The present fMRI study investigated whether auditory-motor effects interact with those related to active listening tasks in AC and IPL. In separate task blocks, our subjects performed either auditory discrimination or 2-back memory tasks on phonemic or nonphonemic vowels. They responded to targets by either overtly repeating the last vowel of a target pair, overtly producing a given response vowel, or by pressing a response button. We hypothesized that the requirements for auditory-motor integration, and the associated activation, would be stronger during repetition than production responses and during repetition of nonphonemic than phonemic vowels. We also hypothesized that if auditory-motor effects are independent of task-dependent modulations, then the auditory-motor effects should not differ during discrimination and 2-back tasks. We found that activation in AC and IPL was significantly modulated by task (discrimination vs. 2-back), vocal-response type (repetition vs. production), and motor-response type (vocal vs. button). Motor-response and task effects interacted in IPL but not in AC. Overall, the results support the view that regions in posterior AC are important in auditory-motor integration. However, the present study shows that activation in wide AC and IPL regions is modulated by the motor requirements of active listening tasks in a more general manner. Further, the results suggest that activation modulations in AC associated with attention-engaging listening tasks and those associated with auditory-motor performance are mediated by independent mechanisms.
  • 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.
  • Zora, Hatice; Riad, Tomas; Ylinen, Sari; Csepe, Valeria (2021)
    Dealing with phonological variations is important for speech processing. This article addresses whether phonological variations introduced by assimilatory processes are compensated for at the pre-lexical or lexical level, and whether the nature of variation and the phonological context influence this process. To this end, Swedish nasal regressive place assimilation was investigated using the mismatch negativity (MMN) component. In nasal regressive assimilation, the coronal nasal assimilates to the place of articulation of a following segment, most clearly with a velar or labial place of articulation, as in utan mej "without me" > [MODIFIER LETTER TRIANGULAR COLONtam mejMODIFIER LETTER TRIANGULAR COLON]. In a passive auditory oddball paradigm, 15 Swedish speakers were presented with Swedish phrases with attested and unattested phonological variations and contexts for nasal assimilation. Attested variations - a coronal-to-labial change as in utan "without" > [MODIFIER LETTER TRIANGULAR COLONtam] - were contrasted with unattested variations - a labial-to-coronal change as in utom "except" > *[MODIFIER LETTER TRIANGULAR COLONtLATIN SMALL LETTER OPEN On] - in appropriate and inappropriate contexts created by mej "me" [mejMODIFIER LETTER TRIANGULAR COLON] and dej "you" [dejMODIFIER LETTER TRIANGULAR COLON]. Given that the MMN amplitude depends on the degree of variation between two stimuli, the MMN responses were expected to indicate to what extent the distance between variants was tolerated by the perceptual system. Since the MMN response reflects not only low-level acoustic processing but also higher-level linguistic processes, the results were predicted to indicate whether listeners process assimilation at the pre-lexical and lexical levels. The results indicated no significant interactions across variations, suggesting that variations in phonological forms do not incur any cost in lexical retrieval; hence such variation is compensated for at the lexical level. However, since the MMN response reached significance only for a labial-to-coronal change in a labial context and for a coronal-to-labial change in a coronal context, the compensation might have been influenced by the nature of variation and the phonological context. It is therefore concluded that while assimilation is compensated for at the lexical level, there is also some influence from pre-lexical processing. The present results reveal not only signal-based perception of phonological units, but also higher-level lexical processing, and are thus able to reconcile the bottom-up and top-down models of speech processing.
  • Virtala, P.; Talola, S.; Partanen, E.; Kujala, T. (2020)
    Whereas natural acoustic variation in speech does not compromise phoneme discrimination in healthy adults, it was hypothesized to be a challenge for developmental dyslexics. We investigated dyslexics’ neural and perceptual discrimination of native language phonemes during acoustic variation. Dyslexics and non-dyslexics heard /æ/ and /i/ phonemes in a context with fo variation and then in a context without it. Mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a responses to phoneme changes were recorded with electroencephalogram to compare groups during ignore and attentive listening. perceptual phoneme discrimination in the variable context was evaluated with hit-ratios and reaction times. MMN/N2bs were diminished in dyslexics in the variable context. Hit-ratios were smaller in dyslexics than controls. MMNs did not differ between groups in the context without variation. These results suggest that even distinctive vowels are challenging to discriminate for dyslexics when the context resembles natural variability of speech. This most likely reflects poor categorical perception of phonemes in dyslexics. Difficulties to detect linguistically relevant invariant information during acoustic variation in speech may contribute to dyslexics’ deficits in forming native language phoneme representations during infancy. Future studies should acknowledge that simple experimental paradigms with repetitive stimuli can be insensitive to dyslexics’ speech processing deficits.
  • Ylinen, Sari; Bosseler, Alexis; Junttila, Katja; Huotilainen, Minna (2017)
    The ability to predict future events in the environment and learn from them is a fundamental component of adaptive behavior across species. Here we propose that inferring predictions facilitates speech processing and word learning in the early stages of language development. Twelve- and 24-month olds' electrophysiological brain responses to heard syllables are faster and more robust when the preceding word context predicts the ending of a familiar word. For unfamiliar, novel word forms, however, word-expectancy violation generates a prediction error response, the strength of which significantly correlates with children's vocabulary scores at 12 months. These results suggest that predictive coding may accelerate word recognition and support early learning of novel words, including not only the learning of heard word forms but also their mapping to meanings. Prediction error may mediate learning via attention, since infants' attention allocation to the entire learning situation in natural environments could account for the link between prediction error and the understanding of word meanings. On the whole, the present results on predictive coding support the view that principles of brain function reported across domains in humans and non-human animals apply to language and its development in the infant brain. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: [Correction added on 27 January 2017, after first online publication: The video abstract link was added.]