Spectral Pattern Discrimination by Children This research measured the ability of 47 children, aged 4– 9 years, to use spectral shape cues to discriminate among random-intensity sounds. The children were tested in forced-choice paradigms that were embedded in a video game format. Two classes of sounds were studied: tonal complexes with sinusoidally rippled amplitude spectra, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1992
Spectral Pattern Discrimination by Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Prudence Allen
    Waisman Center for Mental Retardation and Human Development University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Frederic Wightman
    Waisman Center for Mental Retardation and Human Development University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Currently affiliated with the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
    Currently affiliated with the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1992
Spectral Pattern Discrimination by Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 222-233. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.222
History: Received January 18, 1991 , Accepted June 24, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 222-233. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.222
History: Received January 18, 1991; Accepted June 24, 1991

This research measured the ability of 47 children, aged 4– 9 years, to use spectral shape cues to discriminate among random-intensity sounds. The children were tested in forced-choice paradigms that were embedded in a video game format. Two classes of sounds were studied: tonal complexes with sinusoidally rippled amplitude spectra, and synthetic speech sounds (isolated vowels and consonants). The discriminability of the sounds was measured both in quiet and in a background of wide-band noise. Although the intersubject variability in performance was high, especially among the youngest children, the results revealed a substantial age effect. For both classes of sounds, the performance of the younger children was significantly poorer than the performance of an adult control group. However, there was no evidence in the data that the masking effect of the noise was greater for the children than for the adults.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Mary Bolger, Tamara Gumz, Julie Kleist, Lawrence Lalone, and the children of the Waisman Early Childhood Program and the Madison Metropolitan School District for their contributions to the research, and to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 -HD -23333) for financial support.
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