Categorical Perception of Mandarin Chinese Tones 1–2 and Tones 1–4: Effects of Aging and Signal Duration Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the aging effect on the categorical perception of Mandarin Chinese tones with varied fundamental frequency (F0) contours and signal duration. Method Both younger and older native Chinese listeners with normal hearing were recruited in 2 experiments: tone identification and ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   November 09, 2017
Categorical Perception of Mandarin Chinese Tones 1–2 and Tones 1–4: Effects of Aging and Signal Duration
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yuxia Wang
    School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • Xiaohu Yang
    School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • Chang Liu
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Chang Liu or Xiaohu Yang: changliu@utexas.edu, sherwood@sjtu.edu.cn
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick Gallun×
  • Editor: Daniel Fogerty
    Editor: Daniel Fogerty×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Older Adults & Aging / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   November 09, 2017
Categorical Perception of Mandarin Chinese Tones 1–2 and Tones 1–4: Effects of Aging and Signal Duration
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0061
History: Received February 13, 2017 , Revised June 6, 2017 , Accepted October 12, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0061
History: Received February 13, 2017; Revised June 6, 2017; Accepted October 12, 2017

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the aging effect on the categorical perception of Mandarin Chinese tones with varied fundamental frequency (F0) contours and signal duration.

Method Both younger and older native Chinese listeners with normal hearing were recruited in 2 experiments: tone identification and tone discrimination on a series of stimuli with the F0 contour systematically varying from the flat tone to the rising–falling tones. Apart from F0 contour, tone duration was manipulated at 3 levels: 100, 200, and 400 ms.

Results Results suggested that, compared with younger listeners, older listeners performed with shallower slope in the identification function and smaller peakedness in the discrimination function, particularly for Tones 1 and 2, whereas for Tones 1 and 4, comparable categorical perception was found between younger and older listeners.

Conclusions The current study suggested that longer duration facilitated categorical perception in the flat–rising tones for the older listeners. Such an aging effect was not found with the flat–falling tones, suggesting that the aging-related deficit in categorical perception might relate to different tone types. Aging resulted in less categoricality of Mandarin tone perception for the flat–rising tones with short duration like 100 ms, possibly due to the aging-related decline in temporal processing.

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by the National Social Science Foundation of China, with Grant 17BYY165 awarded to Xiaohu Yang.
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