Impact of background noise and sentence complexity on cognitive processing demands

Dorothea Wendt, Torsten Dau, Jens Hjortkjær

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Abstract

Speech comprehension in adverse listening conditions requires cognitive processingdemands. Processing demands can increase with acoustically degraded speech but also depend on linguistic aspects of the speech signal, such as syntactic complexity. In the present study, pupil dilations were recorded in 19 normal-hearing participants while processing sentences that were either syntactically simple or complex and presented in either high- or low-level background noise. Furthermore, the participants were asked to rate the subjectively perceived difficulty of sentence comprehension. The results showed that increasing noise levels had a greater impact on the perceived difficulty than sentence complexity. In contrast, the processing of complex sentences resulted in greater and more prolonged pupil dilations. The results suggest that while pupil dilations may correlate with cognitive processing demands, acoustic noise has a greater impact on the subjective perception of difficulty.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ISAAR 2015: Individual Hearing Loss – Characterization, Modelling
EditorsS. Santurette, T. Dau, J. C. Dalsgaard, L. Tranebjærg, T. Andersen
Number of pages8
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)978-87-990013-5-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event5th International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research - Nyborg, Denmark
Duration: 26 Aug 201528 Aug 2015
Conference number: 5
http://www.isaar.eu/

Conference

Conference5th International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research
Number5
CountryDenmark
CityNyborg
Period26/08/201528/08/2015
Internet address

Cite this

Wendt, D., Dau, T., & Hjortkjær, J. (2015). Impact of background noise and sentence complexity on cognitive processing demands. In S. Santurette, T. Dau, J. C. Dalsgaard, L. Tranebjærg, & T. Andersen (Eds.), Proceedings of ISAAR 2015: Individual Hearing Loss – Characterization, Modelling