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Effect of language experience on selective auditory attention: An event-related potential study

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  • Pia Rämä, Université Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Department of Integrated Structural Biology, IGBMC (Institute of Genetics and of Molecular and Cellular Biology), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) UMR 7104/Institut National de la Santé de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U964/Université de Strasbourg
  • ,
  • Alina Leminen
  • Satu Koskenoja-Vainikka, University of Helsinki Faculty of Medicine
  • ,
  • Miika Leminen
  • Kimmo Alho, University of Helsinki Faculty of Medicine, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study
  • ,
  • Teija Kujala, University of Helsinki Faculty of Medicine

Dual language experience has typically been shown to improve various executive control functions. We investigated with event-related brain potentials (ERPs) recorded from early (natively) bilingual speakers and control participants whether it also affects auditory selective attention. We delivered to our participants two tone streams, one to the left and one to the right ear. Both streams consisted of standard tones and two types of infrequent deviant tones which had either an enhanced duration or intensity. The participants were instructed to attend either to the right or left stream and to detect longer-duration deviants in the attended stream. The results showed that the early bilinguals did not outperform the controls in target detection accuracy or speed. However, the late portion of the attention-related ERP modulation (the negative difference, Nd) was larger over the left hemisphere in the early bilinguals than in the controls, suggesting that the maintenance of selective attention or further processing of selectively attended sounds is enhanced in the bilinguals. Moreover, the late reorienting negativity (RON) in response to intensity-deviant tones was larger in the bilinguals, suggesting more efficient disengagement of attention from distracting auditory events. Hence, our results demonstrate that brain responses associated with certain aspects of auditory attention are enhanced in the bilingual adults, indicating that early dual language exposure modulates the neuronal responsiveness of auditory modality.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Vol/bind127
Sider (fra-til)38-45
Antal sider8
ISSN0167-8760
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 maj 2018

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