Weighting of amplitude and formant rise time cues by school-aged children: a mismatch negativity study

Varghese Peter*, Marina Kalashnikova, Denis Burnham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose An important skill in the development of speech perception is to apply optimal weights to acoustic cues so that phonemic information is recovered from speech with minimum effort. Here, we investigated the development of acoustic cue weighting of amplitude rise time (ART) and formant rise time (FRT) cues in children as measured by mismatch negativity (MMN).

Method Twelve adults and 36 children aged 6–12 years listened to a /ba/–/wa/ contrast in an oddball paradigm in which the standard stimulus had the ART and FRT cues of /ba/. In different blocks, the deviant stimulus had either the ART or FRT cues of /wa/.

Results The results revealed that children younger than 10 years were sensitive to both ART and FRT cues whereas 10- to 12-year-old children and adults were sensitive only to FRT cues. Moreover, children younger than 10 years generated a positive mismatch response, whereas older children and adults generated MMN.

Conclusion These results suggest that preattentive adultlike weighting of ART and FRT cues is attained only by 10 years of age and accompanies the change from mismatch response to the more mature MMN response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1322-1333
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
Early online date7 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


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