Impact of background noise and sentence complexity on cognitive processing demands

  • Dorothea Wendt Hearing Systems Group, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten, Denmark
  • Torsten Dau Hearing Systems Group, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • Jens Hjortkjær Hearing Systems Group, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Centre for Functional and Diagnostic Imaging and Research, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Denmark

Abstract

Speech comprehension in adverse listening conditions requires cognitive pro-cessing demands. 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 sub-jectively 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.

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Published
2015-12-15
How to Cite
WENDT, Dorothea; DAU, Torsten; HJORTKJÆR, Jens. Impact of background noise and sentence complexity on cognitive processing demands. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research, [S.l.], v. 5, p. 373-380, dec. 2015. Available at: <https://proceedings.isaar.eu/index.php/isaarproc/article/view/2015-44>. Date accessed: 20 nov. 2017.
Section
2015/6. Speech intelligibility in noise: Evaluation and modelling