Poster C113, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Speech perception and attention in early bilngual adults and children
Hia Datta1, Arild Hestvik2, Valerie Shafer3; 1Communication Sciences and Disorders, Molloy College, 2Linguistics and Cognitive Sciences, University of Delaware, 3Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Although it is established that speech perception in a second language is different from the first, the nature of this difference is not completely clear, especially in those who acquire the second language early. We examined English vowel discrimination and attention in 15 Spanish-English early bilingual adults and 15 Spanish-English early bilingual school-aged children compared to their monolingual counterparts, as indexed by the Mismatch Negativity (MMN), Late Negativity (LN) and Processing Negativity (PN). These event-related-potentials were measured while the participants listened to the English short vowel contrast /i/-/e/ in a modified odd-ball paradigm, with and without directed attention. Results indicated no difference in preattentive auditory discrimination of the vowel contrast between the monolingual and bilingual groups as reflected by their comparable MMNs. However, we found that the bilingual adults elicited a larger LN than the monolingual adults indicating a greater sensitivity to reorienting via top-down processing (Čeponienė et al., 2004; Horváth, Roeber, & Schröger, 2009) and a larger PN to all the sounds, suggesting greater overall attention to the sound stream. The bilingual children were, on the other hand, remarkably similar to the monolingual children in all aspects of attention and speech processing, suggesting a certain "bilingual training effect" for attention in speech processing that develops with extensive manipulation of two languages over the lifespan.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition