9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Language Experience Dependent Plasticity for Pitch Representation in the Human Brainstem

Ananthanarayan Krishnan, Jackson Gandour, Jayaganesh Swaminathan

Purdue University, USA

Brainstem frequencies following responses (FFR) were recorded from Chinese and English participants in response to Mandarin tonal patterns presented in a speech and a non-speech context. Results showed that the Chinese group exhibits stronger pitch representation and smoother pitch tracking than the English group. Moreover, the Chinese group exhibited relatively more robust pitch representation of rapidly-changing pitch segments. These findings support the view that at early preattentive stages of subcortical processing,neural mechanisms underlying pitch representation are shaped by particular features of the auditory stream rather than speech per se.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Krishnan, Ananthanarayan / Gandour, Jackson / Swaminathan, Jayaganesh (2008): "Language experience dependent plasticity for pitch representation in the human brainstem", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 622.