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Title:Relation of short-term working memory and speech perception: a cross-sectional study
Author(s):Bielski, Lynn
Director of Research:Lansing, Charissa R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lansing, Charissa R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Chambers, Ron D.; Johnson, Cynthia J.; Gooler, David M.
Department / Program:Speech & Hearing Science
Discipline:Speech & Hearing Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Speech perception
working memory
visual cues
Abstract:The current study examined the relation between short-term working memory and speech perception. Visual cues have been shown to improve speech understanding; therefore, visual cues from the talker’s face might also enhance short-term working memory. Word recall was examined as function of age (children, young adults, older adults), modality, (auditory-visual, auditory-only) and acoustic condition (quiet, noise). All participants had normal hearing bilaterally and good vision. A running memory task was utilized. Participants listened to strings of bisyalbic words and were instructed to repeat the last four words heard in any order. Additional measures included tests of lip-reading proficiency, receptive vocabulary knowledge, inhibition, subjective workload ratings and working memory. It was hypothesized that age would influence recall errors, with young adults having fewer errors compared to children and older adults. Fewer recall errors were expected when visual cues were present, and fewer recall errors were predicted in quiet than noise. Results revealed age group differences. Children showed a higher number of recall errors compared to adults. Inconsistent with what has been reported in the literature, older adult’s recall performance was similar to that of young adults. Few recall errors were present for the last word heard, indicating the stimuli were audible and intelligible. Recall errors increased for words further back in the string, indicating an effect of short-term working memory. All age groups demonstrated fewer errors when visual cues from the talker’s face were provided, especially in noise independent of lip-reading proficiency. Workload ratings collected from the adult groups showed greater perceived frustration in noise compared to quiet. With the exception of lip-reading proficiency and work load ratings, other additional measures did not help to explain individual differences. An examination of types of recall errors revealed children had more part word and phoneme substitution errors compared to adults. Across age groups, fewer part word and phoneme substitution errors were present with visual cues compared to without. Future studies should explore the utility of visual cues in facilitating short-term working memory in listeners with hearing loss, signal-to-noise ratio loss, and loss of temporal/spectral resolution abilities.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Lynn M. Bielski
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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