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Age-related differences in auditory evoked potentials as a function of task modulation during speech-nonspeech processing


Rufener, Katharina Simone; Liem, Franziskus; Meyer, Martin (2014). Age-related differences in auditory evoked potentials as a function of task modulation during speech-nonspeech processing. Brain and Behavior, 4(1):21-28.

Abstract

Background Healthy aging is typically associated with impairment in various cognitive abilities such as memory, selective attention or executive functions. Less well observed is the fact that also language functions in general and speech processing in particular seems to be affected by age. This impairment is partly caused by pathologies of the peripheral auditory nervous system and central auditory decline and in some part also by a cognitive decay. Aims This cross-sectional electroencephalography (EEG) study investigates temporally early electrophysiological correlates of auditory related selective attention in young (20–32 years) and older (60–74 years) healthy adults. Material and methods In two independent tasks, we systematically modulate the subjects' focus of attention by presenting words and pseudowords as targets and white noise stimuli as distractors. Results Behavioral data showed no difference in task accuracy between the two age samples irrespective of the modulation of attention. However, our work is the first to show that the N1- and the P2 component evoked by speech and nonspeech stimuli are specifically modulated in older adults and young adults depending on the subjects' focus of attention. Conclusion This finding is particularly interesting in that the age-related differences in AEPs may be reflecting levels of processing that are not mirrored by the behavioral measurements.

Abstract

Background Healthy aging is typically associated with impairment in various cognitive abilities such as memory, selective attention or executive functions. Less well observed is the fact that also language functions in general and speech processing in particular seems to be affected by age. This impairment is partly caused by pathologies of the peripheral auditory nervous system and central auditory decline and in some part also by a cognitive decay. Aims This cross-sectional electroencephalography (EEG) study investigates temporally early electrophysiological correlates of auditory related selective attention in young (20–32 years) and older (60–74 years) healthy adults. Material and methods In two independent tasks, we systematically modulate the subjects' focus of attention by presenting words and pseudowords as targets and white noise stimuli as distractors. Results Behavioral data showed no difference in task accuracy between the two age samples irrespective of the modulation of attention. However, our work is the first to show that the N1- and the P2 component evoked by speech and nonspeech stimuli are specifically modulated in older adults and young adults depending on the subjects' focus of attention. Conclusion This finding is particularly interesting in that the age-related differences in AEPs may be reflecting levels of processing that are not mirrored by the behavioral measurements.

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5 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPSYCH Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:08 Nov 2013 11:00
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:07
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2162-3279
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.188
PubMed ID:24653951

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