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MMN responses in adults after exposure to bimodal and unimodal frequency distributions of rotated speech
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Phonetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7658-9307
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Phonetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3945-8759
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Computational Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1149-2517
2017 (English)In: Proceedings of Interspeech 2017, The International Speech Communication Association (ISCA), 2017, 1804-1808 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study is to further the understanding of the relationship between perceptual categorization and exposure to different frequency distributions of sounds. Previous studies have shown that speech sound discrimination proficiency is in- fluenced by exposure to different distributions of speech sound continua varying along one or several acoustic dimensions, both in adults and in infants. In the current study, adults were presented with either a bimodal or a unimodal frequency distri- bution of spectrally rotated sounds along a continuum (a vowel continuum before rotation). Categorization of the sounds, quantified as amplitude of the event-related potential (ERP) component mismatch negativity (MMN) in response to two of the sounds, was measured before and after exposure. It was expected that the bimodal group would have a larger MMN amplitude after exposure whereas the unimodal group would have a smaller MMN amplitude after exposure. Contrary to expectations, the MMN amplitude was smaller overall after exposure, and no difference was found between groups. This suggests that either the previously reported sensitivity to frequency distributions of speech sounds is not present for non-speech sounds, or the MMN amplitude is not a sensitive enough measure of categorization to detect an influence from passive exposure, or both.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The International Speech Communication Association (ISCA), 2017. 1804-1808 p.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148558DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1110OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-148558DiVA: diva2:1153482
Conference
Interspeech 2017, Stockholm, Sweden, August 20–24, 2017
Available from: 2017-10-30 Created: 2017-10-30 Last updated: 2017-11-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Perceptual reorganization of vowels: Separating the linguistic and acoustic parts of the mismatch response
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perceptual reorganization of vowels: Separating the linguistic and acoustic parts of the mismatch response
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the first year of life, infants go from perceiving speech sounds primarily based on their acoustic characteristics, to perceiving speech sounds as belonging to speech sound categories relevant in their native language(s). The transition is apparent in that very young infants typically discriminate both native and non-native speech sound contrasts, whereas older infants show better discrimination for native contrasts and worse or no discrimi­na­tion for non-native contrasts. The rate of this perceptual reorganization depends, among other things, on the salience of the relevant speech sounds within the speech signal. As such, the perceptual reorganization of vowels and lexical tone typically precedes the perceptual reorganization of consonants.

Perceptual reorganizatoin of speech sounds is often demonstrated by measuring in­fants’ discrimination of specific speech sound contrasts across development. One way of measuring discriminatory ability is to use the mismatch response (MMR). This is a brain response that can be measured using external electroencephalography re­cord­ings. Pre­senting an oddball (deviant) stimulus among a series of standard stimuli elicits a response that, in adults, correlates well with behavioral discrimination. When the two stimuli are speech sounds contrastive in the listeners’ language, the response arguably reflects both acoustic and linguistic processing. In infants, the response is less studied, but has nevertheless already proven useful for studies on the perceptual reorganization of speech sounds.

The present thesis documents a series of studies with the end game of investigating how amount of speech exposure influences the perceptual reorganization, and whe­ther the learning mechanisms involved in speech sound cate­gory learning is specific to speech or domain-general. In order to be able to compare MMR results across diffe­rent age groups in infancy, a non-speech control condition needed to be devised however, to account for changes in the MMR across development that are attributable to general brain matura­tion rather than language development specifically.

Findings of studies incorporated in the thesis show that spectrally rotated speech can be used to approximate the acoustic part of the MMR in adults. Subtracting the acoustic part of the MMR from the full MMR thus estimates the part of the MMR that is linked to linguistic, rather than acoustic, processing. The strength of this linguistic part of the MMR in four- and eight-month-old infants is directly related to the daily amount of speech that the infants are exposed to. No evidence of distributional learning of non-speech auditory categories was demonstrated in adults, but the results together with previous research generated hypo­theses for future study.

In conclusion, the research performed within the scope of this thesis highlight the need of a non-speech control condition for use in developmental speech perception studies using the MMR, demonstrates the viability of one such non-speech control condition, and points toward relevant future research within the topic of speech sound category development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, 2017. 89 p.
Keyword
language acquisition, infants, speech perception, MMR, MMN, perceptual reorganization
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148559 (URN)978-91-7797-053-8 (ISBN)978-91-7797-054-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-15, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-11-22 Created: 2017-10-31 Last updated: 2017-11-23Bibliographically approved

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