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