Brief-Tone Frequency Discrimination by Children This study investigated maturational changes in children's ability to discriminate the frequency of short-duration tone pulses. Frequency difference limens (DLs) were measured for digitally generated 1000-Hz tones with pulse durations of 200, 50, and 20 ms using a two-alternative, two-interval, forced-choice procedure. Participants were 16 5-year-old children; 10 children each ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1999
Brief-Tone Frequency Discrimination by Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nella C. Thompson
    Northern State University Aberdeen, SD
  • Jerry L. Cranford
    East Carolina University Greenville, NC
  • Elmer Hoyer
    Wichita State University Wichita, KS
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: cranfordj@mail.ecu.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1999
Brief-Tone Frequency Discrimination by Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1999, Vol. 42, 1061-1068. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4205.1061
History: Received July 2, 1998 , Accepted April 8, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1999, Vol. 42, 1061-1068. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4205.1061
History: Received July 2, 1998; Accepted April 8, 1999

This study investigated maturational changes in children's ability to discriminate the frequency of short-duration tone pulses. Frequency difference limens (DLs) were measured for digitally generated 1000-Hz tones with pulse durations of 200, 50, and 20 ms using a two-alternative, two-interval, forced-choice procedure. Participants were 16 5-year-old children; 10 children each in the age categories of 7, 9, and 11 years; and a control group of 10 young adults. Eleven of the 5-year-old children were unable to learn the experimental task. All children in the three older groups and the adults successfully completed the study. The five 5-year-old children who completed the task performed similarly to the 7-year-old children. All groups of participants showed an inverse relationship between duration of the signal and the size of the DL. The DLs at all three tone durations were significantly larger for the 7-year-old children than they were for the older children and adults. There were no significant differences in DL size among the 9-year-old, 11-year-old, and adult subjects at any tone duration. These findings suggest that the sensory and/or cognitive skills required to discriminate the frequency of brief-duration tones may not reach maturity until after age 7 years.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Dr. Andrew Stuart for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of the present manuscript.
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