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Psychophysical Estimates of Frequency Discrimination: More than Just Limitations of Auditory Processing
MRC Institute of Hearing Research, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, 04103, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 April 2013; in revised form: 20 May 2013 / Accepted: 14 June 2013 / Published: 5 July 2013
Abstract: Efficient auditory processing is hypothesized to support language and literacy development. However, behavioral tasks used to assess this hypothesis need to be robust to non-auditory specific individual differences. This study compared frequency discrimination abilities in a heterogeneous sample of adults using two different psychoacoustic task designs, referred to here as: 2I_6A_X and 3I_2AFC designs. The role of individual differences in nonverbal IQ (NVIQ), socioeconomic status (SES) and musical experience in predicting frequency discrimination thresholds on each task were assessed using multiple regression analyses. The 2I_6A_X task was more cognitively demanding and hence more susceptible to differences specifically in SES and musical training. Performance on this task did not, however, relate to nonword repetition ability (a measure of language learning capacity). The 3I_2AFC task, by contrast, was only susceptible to musical training. Moreover, thresholds measured using it predicted some variance in nonword repetition performance. This design thus seems suitable for use in studies addressing questions regarding the role of auditory processing in supporting language and literacy development.
Keywords: language and literacy disorders; auditory processing; frequency discrimination; task design; individual differences; musical training; auditory sensory memory; verbal short-term memory; nonword repetition
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Barry, J.G.; Weiss, B.; Sabisch, B. Psychophysical Estimates of Frequency Discrimination: More than Just Limitations of Auditory Processing. Brain Sci. 2013, 3, 1023-1042.
Barry JG, Weiss B, Sabisch B. Psychophysical Estimates of Frequency Discrimination: More than Just Limitations of Auditory Processing. Brain Sciences. 2013; 3(3):1023-1042.
Barry, Johanna G.; Weiss, Benjamin; Sabisch, Beate. 2013. "Psychophysical Estimates of Frequency Discrimination: More than Just Limitations of Auditory Processing." Brain Sci. 3, no. 3: 1023-1042.