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Selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates initial encoding of auditory words within the left hemisphere


Yoncheva, Yuliya; Maurer, Urs; Zevin, Jason D; McCandliss, Bruce D (2014). Selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates initial encoding of auditory words within the left hemisphere. NeuroImage, 97:262-270.

Abstract

Selective attention to phonology, i.e., the ability to attend to sub-syllabic units within spoken words, is a critical precursor to literacy acquisition. Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence has demonstrated that a left-lateralized network of frontal, temporal, and posterior language regions, including the visual word form area, supports this skill. The current event-related potential (ERP) study investigated the temporal dynamics of selective attention to phonology during spoken word perception. We tested the hypothesis that selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates stimulus encoding by recruiting left-lateralized processes specifically while the information critical for performance is unfolding. Selective attention to phonology was captured by manipulating listening goals: skilled adult readers attended to either rhyme or melody within auditory stimulus pairs. Each pair superimposed rhyming and melodic information ensuring identical sensory stimulation. Selective attention to phonology produced distinct early and late topographic ERP effects during stimulus encoding. Data-driven source localization analyses revealed that selective attention to phonology led to significantly greater recruitment of left-lateralized posterior and extensive temporal regions, which was notably concurrent with the rhyme-relevant information within the word. Furthermore, selective attention effects were specific to auditory stimulus encoding and not observed in response to cues, arguing against the notion that they reflect sustained task setting. Collectively, these results demonstrate that selective attention to phonology dynamically engages a left-lateralized network during the critical time-period of perception for achieving phonological analysis goals. These findings suggest a key role for selective attention in on-line phonological computations. Furthermore, these findings motivate future research on the role that neural mechanisms of attention may play in phonological awareness impairments thought to underlie developmental reading disabilities.

Abstract

Selective attention to phonology, i.e., the ability to attend to sub-syllabic units within spoken words, is a critical precursor to literacy acquisition. Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence has demonstrated that a left-lateralized network of frontal, temporal, and posterior language regions, including the visual word form area, supports this skill. The current event-related potential (ERP) study investigated the temporal dynamics of selective attention to phonology during spoken word perception. We tested the hypothesis that selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates stimulus encoding by recruiting left-lateralized processes specifically while the information critical for performance is unfolding. Selective attention to phonology was captured by manipulating listening goals: skilled adult readers attended to either rhyme or melody within auditory stimulus pairs. Each pair superimposed rhyming and melodic information ensuring identical sensory stimulation. Selective attention to phonology produced distinct early and late topographic ERP effects during stimulus encoding. Data-driven source localization analyses revealed that selective attention to phonology led to significantly greater recruitment of left-lateralized posterior and extensive temporal regions, which was notably concurrent with the rhyme-relevant information within the word. Furthermore, selective attention effects were specific to auditory stimulus encoding and not observed in response to cues, arguing against the notion that they reflect sustained task setting. Collectively, these results demonstrate that selective attention to phonology dynamically engages a left-lateralized network during the critical time-period of perception for achieving phonological analysis goals. These findings suggest a key role for selective attention in on-line phonological computations. Furthermore, these findings motivate future research on the role that neural mechanisms of attention may play in phonological awareness impairments thought to underlie developmental reading disabilities.

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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
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:14 Jul 2014 12:45
Last Modified:09 Aug 2017 12:39
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.04.006
PubMed ID:24746955

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