In order to investigate the precise acoustic features of stop consonants that pose perceptual difficulties for some children with learning problems, discrimination thresholds along two separate synthetic/da-ga/continua were compared in a group of children with learning problems (LP) and a group of normal children. The continua differed only in the duration of the formant transitions. Results showed that simply lengthening the formant transition duration from 40 to 80 ms did not result in improved discrimination thresholds for the LP group relative to the normal group. Consistent with previous findings, an electrophysiologic response that is known to reflect the brain's representation of a change from one auditory stimulus to another - the mismatch negativity (MMN) - indicated diminished responses in the LP group relative to the normal group to/da/versus /ga/ when the transition duration was 40 ms. In the lengthened transition duration condition the MMN responses from the LP group were more similar to those from the normal group, and were enhanced relative to the short transition duration condition. These data suggest that extending the duration of the critical portion of the acoustic stimulus can result in enhanced encoding at a preattentive neural level; however, this stimulus manipulation on its own is not a sufficient acoustic enhancement to facilitate increased perceptual discrimination of this place-of-articulation contrast.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics