Talk by Esther Janse this Thursday

Posted on November 13, 2012 by

Esther Janse, from the MPI in Nijmegen, will be giving a talk this Thursday (15th Nov) from 1pm-2pm in Ellen Wilkinson A2.6. Details below.

Working memory affects older adults’ use of semantic context for spoken-word recognition

Esther Janse, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Several studies have shown that older adults are better able to make use of semantic context for sentence recognition in noisy listening conditions than younger adults. Recent evidence suggests, however, that older adults’ greater reliance on context may reflect a (post-perceptual) bias to respond consistently with the context, rather than their greater skill in using context during word recognition (Rogers et al., 2012). In this talk, two studies will be presented on individual differences among older adults in the ability to process contextual semantic content rapidly enough to facilitate spoken-word processing as the spoken target sentence is unfolding. In one study, eyetracking is used (visual world paradigm) to monitor participants’ eye gaze to a visual display while they listen to spoken sentences. In the other study, participants monitored for the occurrence of a specific sound (e.g., /p/) in spoken sentences. In both studies, the speed with which participants find the target word is taken to index their speed of spoken-word recognition. Older adults in both studies varied in (age-related) hearing loss, but did not wear hearing aids. The results show that individual memory span and age predict the ability to immediately benefit from semantic context for spoken word recognition.