Semantic processing during speech-in-speech perception and links with executive functions
In this talk I will present a study in which we investigated the links between speech-in-speech perception capacities and four executive function components: response suppression, inhibitory control, switching and working memory. We used a cross-modal semantic priming paradigm using a written target word and a spoken prime word. Each prime word was implemented in only one of two overlapping pronounced sentences (cocktail party situation). Participants had to perform a lexical decision task on visual target words and simultaneously listen to only one of two pronounced sentences. The onset of the visual target presentation corresponded to the offset of the pronounced prime word. The attention of the participant was our first manipulated variable (noted attention): The prime was in the pronounced sentence listened to by the participant (attended condition) or in the ignored pronounced sentence (ignored condition). Our second manipulated variable (noted relatedness) was the semantic link between the written target word and the spoken prime word: The prime and target were semantically related or unrelated. In addition, we asked to participants to perform both an executive function task (the anti-saccade task of Bialystok et al., 2006, allowing the simultaneous measurement of switching cost, inhibitory-control cost and response-suppression cost) and working memory span task (extracted from WAIS IV). A correlation analysis was performed between the executive and priming measurements. Our results showed a significant interaction effect between attention and the relatedness variable. We observed a significant priming effect in the attended but not in the ignored condition. Only this last priming condition (ignored) was significantly correlated with the three executive measurements of the anti-saccade task. However, no correlation between priming effects and working memory scores was found. These results are in line, first, with the role of attention for semantic priming effect and, second, with the implication of executive functions in speech-in-noise understanding capacities. These findings allow to specify further the nature of the links between speech in noise comprehension and executive functions.
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