Neural Response Development During Distributional Learning

Natalie Boll-Avetisyan, Jessie S. Nixon, Tomas O. Lentz, Liquan Liu, Sandrien van Ommen, Çağri Çöltekin, Jacolien van Rij

We investigated online electrophysiological components of distributional learning, specifically of tones by listeners of a non-tonal language. German listeners were presented with a bimodal distribution of syllables with lexical tones from a synthesized continuum based on Cantonese level tones. Tones were presented in sets of four standards (within-category tokens) followed by a deviant (across-category token). Mismatch negativity (MMN) was measured. Earlier behavioral data showed that exposure to this bimodal distribution improved both categorical perception and perceptual acuity for level tones [1]. In the present study we present analyses of the electrophysiological response recorded during this exposure, i.e. the development of the MMN response during distributional learning. This development over time is analyzed using Generalized Additive Mixed Models and results showed that the MMN amplitude increased for both within- and across-category tokens, reflecting higher perceptual acuity accompanying category formation. This is evidence that learners zooming in on phonological categories undergo neural changes associated with more accurate phonetic perception.

 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2072

Cite as: Boll-Avetisyan, N., Nixon, J.S., Lentz, T.O., Liu, L., van Ommen, S., Çöltekin, Ç., van Rij, J. (2018) Neural Response Development During Distributional Learning. Proc. Interspeech 2018, 1432-1436, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2072.

  author={Natalie Boll-Avetisyan and Jessie S. Nixon and Tomas O. Lentz and Liquan Liu and Sandrien {van Ommen} and Çağri Çöltekin and Jacolien {van Rij}},
  title={Neural Response Development During Distributional Learning},
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2018},