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Age-related Differences in the Perceptual Organization of Speech Sounds

Aging is associated with a decline in the ability to understand what a person is saying in the presence of other sounds. This study investigated the perceptual organization of speech in young (n=20) and older adults (n=20). Four vowels were arranged into six sequences, defined by either continuous or discontinuous first-formant transitions. Participants first made an objective response (choosing the sequence that best matched the one they just heard from a list), followed by a subjective response (indicating if they heard one or two streams of sound). There were significant interactions between age and sequence-type for both objective and subjective responses, respectively. These results suggest that aging affects the ability to perceptually organize speech-sounds and the ability to perceive sequential streaming of speech. These findings are discussed within the context of further enriching what is known about auditory scene analysis, cognitive aging, and sequential streaming.
Date08 December 2011
CreatorsHutka, Stefanie Andrea
ContributorsAlain, Claude
Source SetsUniversity of Toronto
Detected LanguageEnglish

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