Poster Session B, Sunday, March 24, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Active tracking of speech in a complex auditory scene in children
Sun Meirong1,2, Han Qiming1,2,3, Zou Jiajie4, Ding Nai4, Luo Huan1,2,3; 1School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, 2PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Peking University, 3Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University, 4College of Biomedical Engineering and Instrument Sciences, Zhejiang University
Humans can selectively attend to one talker in a multi-talker environment, an important social-cognitive capacity (‘cocktail party effect’). Accumulating evidence has shown that the human brain can segregate different speech streams in auditory cortex and selectively represent the attended speech stream. However, it remains unknown how selective speech tracking mechanisms develop in children. Here, we recorded electroencephalography (EEG) activities from healthy adults (N = 13; age 20-28 years) and typically developing children (N = 13; age 9-15 years), while they selectively listened to one of two competing stories from different speakers. Neural tracking of each speech stream is separately analyzed using the temporal response function (TRF). Both adults and children can attend to the target story and correctly answer comprehension questions. Preliminary EEG results demonstrate that the neural responses, however, are less strongly modulated by attention in children than in adults. Critically, the attention effects are observed in different brain areas for children and adults. Our results demonstrate that the neural mechanism to selectively process one speech stream in a complex auditory environment is underdeveloped until about age 15.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Auditory