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Title: Cortical tracking of speech-in-noise develops from childhood to adulthood
Authors: Vander Ghinst, Marc
Bourguignon, Mathieu
Niesen, Maxime
Wens, Vincent
Hassid, Sergio
Choufani, Georges
Jousmäki, Veikko
Hari, Riitta
Goldman, Serge
De Tiège, Xavier
Keywords: Science::Medicine
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Vander Ghinst, M., Bourguignon, M., Niesen, M., Wens, V., Hassid, S., Choufani, G., . . . De Tiège, X. (2019). Cortical tracking of speech-in-noise develops from childhood to adulthood. The Journal of Neuroscience, 39(15), 2938-2950. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.1732-18.2019
Journal: The Journal of Neuroscience
Abstract: In multitalker backgrounds, the auditory cortex of adult humans tracks the attended speech stream rather than the global auditory scene. Still, it is unknown whether such preferential tracking also occurs in children whose speech-in-noise (SiN) abilities are typically lower compared with adults. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate the frequency-specific cortical tracking of different elements of a cocktail party auditory scene in 20 children (age range, 6-9 years; 8 females) and 20 adults (age range, 21-40 years; 10 females). During MEG recordings, subjects attended to four different 5 min stories, mixed with different levels of multitalker background at four signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs; noiseless, +5, 0, and -5 dB). Coherence analysis quantified the coupling between the time courses of the MEG activity and attended speech stream, multitalker background, or global auditory scene, respectively. In adults, statistically significant coherence was observed between MEG signals originating from the auditory system and the attended stream at <1, 1-4, and 4-8 Hz in all SNR conditions. Children displayed similar coupling at <1 and 1-4 Hz, but increasing noise impaired the coupling more strongly than in adults. Also, children displayed drastically lower coherence at 4-8 Hz in all SNR conditions. These results suggest that children's difficulties to understand speech in noisy conditions are related to an immature selective cortical tracking of the attended speech streams. Our results also provide unprecedented evidence for an acquired cortical tracking of speech at syllable rate and argue for a progressive development of SiN abilities in humans.
ISSN: 0270-6474
DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.1732-18.2019
Schools: Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) 
Organisations: Cognitive Neuroimaging Centre
Rights: © 2019 The Author(s) (published by Society for Neuroscience). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles

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