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LINGUIST List 22.5110

Mon Dec 19 2011

Diss: Neuroling: Hessler: 'Audiovisual Processing in Aphasic and ...'

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        1.     Dörte Hessler , Audiovisual Processing in Aphasic and Non-Brain-Damaged Listeners: The whole is more than the sum of its parts


Message 1: Audiovisual Processing in Aphasic and Non-Brain-Damaged Listeners: The whole is more than the sum of its parts
Date: 19-Dec-2011
From: Dörte Hessler <medoerte.eu>
Subject: Audiovisual Processing in Aphasic and Non-Brain-Damaged Listeners: The whole is more than the sum of its parts
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Institution: University of Groningen
Program: Neurolinguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Dörte A. Hessler

Dissertation Title: Audiovisual Processing in Aphasic and Non-Brain-Damaged Listeners: The whole is more than the sum of its parts

Dissertation URL: http://irs.ub.rug.nl/ppn/338802789

Linguistic Field(s): Neurolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Roelien Bastiaanse
Roel Jonkers

Dissertation Abstract:

Speech perception is a task that is commonly fulfilled without much effort.
Only when processing is disturbed, e.g. after a brain damage, we notice its
complexity. Dörte Hessler investigates this phenomenon. Not only auditory
but also audiovisual processing of speech sounds is addressed.


The research firstly showes that individuals with aphasia (a language
disorder resulting from brain damage) have more difficulties in recognizing
small differences between speech sounds than larger. Speech sounds can
differ in the manner of articulation, the place of articulation and the
fact whether the vocal cords vibrate. Speech sounds differing in all three
ways are easier to recognize than those differing in only one way. The most
difficult distinction is found for sounds that differ only with regard to
the vibration of the vocal cords (e.g. the difference between p and b).
Measurements of brain reactions of listeners without a language disorder
complement these findings: the brain waves show a larger reaction when the
difference between sounds is small. This is probably due to the additional
attention that is necessary to process the small differences.


The research project furthermore shows that visual support (speechreading),
which has a positive influence on perception, is not limited to clearly
visible features of sounds, such as the place of articulation, but also on
the manner of articulation and the vocal cord vibrations. Even individuals
without brain-damage show an effect of speechreading: their reaction times
decrease when they have to choose a target sound. Additionally, also their
brain reactions are influenced: auditory and audiovisual input lead to
clearly distinctive reaction patterns. Processing is easier when the sound
is presented audiovisually.




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