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  • 1.
    Ljung, Robert
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Maccutcheon, Douglas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Pausch, Florian
    RWTH Aachen Institut für Technische Akustik, Aachen, Tyskland.
    Fels, Janina
    RWTH Aachen Institut für Technische Akustik, Aachen, Tyskland.
    Top-Down Cognitive Factors Influence Second-Language Word Identification in Noise2017In: Abstracts of the Psychonomic Society, 2017, Vol. 22, p. 291-291, article id 5109Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Forty-four sequential bilingual children aged fifteen underwent assessments of speech-in-noise perception, first and second language vocabulary and auditory working memory (forward digit span). In order to investigate the signal driven processes might affect bilinguals’ “spatial release from masking” (SRM) a listening in spatialized noise paradigm was adapted for the bilingual context. A simple number and colour identification task presented in English and Swedish, and the talker was masked adaptively by speech-shaped noise and eight-talker babble under two spatialized conditions in simulated room acoustics; targets and maskers were either collocated at zero degrees azimuth or spatially separated at ninety degrees azimuth to either side. The resulting language and noise conditions were contrasted with existing research on bilingual adults and native-language speaking children, extending findings to a younger sample of sequential bilingual children. The results indicating a significant relationship between cognitive ability and second-language speech reception threshold.

  • 2.
    MacCutcheon, Douglas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.
    Hurtig, Anders
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.
    Pausch, Florian
    Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
    Hygge, Staffan
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.
    Fels, Janina
    Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
    Ljung, Robert
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.
    Second language vocabulary level is related to benefits for second language listening comprehension under lower reverberation time conditions2019In: Journal of Cognitive Psychology, ISSN 2044-5911, E-ISSN 2044-592X, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 175-185Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The acoustic qualities of a room can have a deleterious effect on the quality of speech signals. The acoustic measurement of reverberation time (RT) has shown to impact second language (L2) speech comprehension positively when lower due to release from spectral and temporal masking effects as well as top-down processing factors. This auralization experiment investigated the benefits of better L2 vocabulary and executive function (updating) skills during L2 listening comprehension tests under shorter versus longer RT conditions (0.3 and 0.9 s). 57 bilingual university students undertook L2 vocabulary, number updating and L2 listening comprehension tests. After splitting groups into high/low vocabulary and updating groups, a mixed ANOVA was conducted. The high number updating group showed no significant differences or interactions in L2 listening comprehension than the lower number updating group across RT conditions. The high vocabulary group had 22% better L2 listening comprehension than the low vocabulary group in long RT, and 9% better in short RT. A significant benefit in L2 listening comprehension due to release from reverberation was only evident in the high vocabulary group. Results indicate that the benefit of good room acoustics for listening comprehension is greatest for those with better language (vocabulary) ability.

  • 3.
    MacCutcheon, Douglas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Pausch, Florian
    Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
    Fels, Janina
    Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
    Ljung, Robert
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    The effect of language, spatial factors, masker type and memory span on speech-in-noise thresholds in sequential bilingual children2018In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 59, no 6, p. 567-577Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study considers whether bilingual children listening in a second language are among those on which higher processing and cognitive demands are placed when noise is present. Forty-four Swedish sequential bilingual 15 year-olds were given memory span and vocabulary assessments in their first and second language (Swedish and English). First and second language speech reception thresholds (SRTs) at 50% intelligibility for numbers and colors presented in noise were obtained using an adaptive procedure. The target sentences were presented in simulated, virtual classroom acoustics, masked by either 16-talker multi-talker babble noise (MTBN) or speech shaped noise (SSN), positioned either directly in front of the listener (collocated with the target speech), or spatially separated from the target speech by 90° to either side. Main effects in the Spatial and Noise factors indicated that intelligibility was 3.8 dB lower in collocated conditions and 2.9 dB lower in MTBN conditions. SRTs were unexpectedly higher by 0.9 dB in second language conditions. Memory span significantly predicted 17% of the variance in the second language SRTs, and 9% of the variance in first language SRTs, indicating the possibility that the SRT task places higher cognitive demands when listening to second language speech than when the target is in the listener's first language.

  • 4.
    MacCutcheon, Douglas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Pausch, Florian
    RWTH Aachen University.
    Fels, Janina
    RWTH Aachen University.
    Ljung, Robert
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    The relationship between working memory and second language speech reception thresholds in sequential bilingual children2017In: APCAM 2017: 16th Annual Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Action Meeting, 2017, p. 14-14Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study considers whether or not bilingual school children listening and learning in a second language are among those on which higher perceptual processing and cognitive demands are placed when classroom noise is present. Empirical substantiation for this theory would include elevated speech reception thresholds (SRTs) for second language speech in noise, and native or second language-specific correlations between SRTs and cognitive measures such as working memory (WM) or factors such as the age at which the second language was acquired (age of second language acquisition). Forty-four Swedish sequential bilingual children with no sensory or learning deficits took part in this study. Working memory and vocabulary assessments were conducted and language background data were collected. SRTs at 50 % intelligibility were obtained using an adaptive procedure under Language, Spatial and Noise conditions. The target sentence was presented in simulated room acoustics in Swedish and English, masked by either 8-talker babble or speech shaped noise (SSN) with identical long-term average speech spectra, and noise maskers were positioned either directly in front of the listener or spatially separated from the target at 90° azimuth to either side. Main effects in the Spatial and Noise conditions indicated that spatial release from masking favoured spatially separated conditions and a noise release from masking advantage for SSN conditions, indicated by significantly lower thresholds for those conditions. There were no significant interactions with Language. The age of second language acquisition did not significantly predict second language SRTs and was excluded from the regression model. However, WM significantly predicted 21% of the variance in the second language SRTs, and 9% of the variance in native language SRTs. WM predicted more of the variance in second language SRTs than first language SRTs, suggesting that cognition plays more of a role in second language perceptual processes than native language ones.

  • 5.
    Marsh, John E.
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Ljung, Robert
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Jahncke, Helena
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    MacCutcheon, Douglas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Pausch, Florian
    Institute of Technical Acoustics, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
    Ball, Linden J.
    School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK 3.
    Vachon, François
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
    Why are background telephone conversations distracting?2018In: Journal of experimental psychology. Applied, ISSN 1076-898X, E-ISSN 1939-2192, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 222-235Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Telephone conversation is ubiquitous within the office setting. Overhearing a telephone conversation-whereby only one of the two speakers is heard-is subjectively more annoying and objectively more distracting than overhearing a full conversation. The present study sought to determine whether this "halfalogue" effect is attributable to unexpected offsets and onsets within the background speech (acoustic unexpectedness) or to the tendency to predict the unheard part of the conversation (semantic [un]predictability), and whether these effects can be shielded against through top-down cognitive control. In Experiment 1, participants performed an office-related task in quiet or in the presence of halfalogue and dialogue background speech. Irrelevant speech was either meaningful or meaningless speech. The halfalogue effect was only present for the meaningful speech condition. Experiment 2 addressed whether higher task-engagement could shield against the halfalogue effect by manipulating the font of the to-be-read material. Although the halfalogue effect was found with an easy-to-read font (fluent text), the use of a difficult-to-read font (disfluent text) eliminated the effect. The halfalogue effect is thus attributable to the semantic (un)predictability, not the acoustic unexpectedness, of background telephone conversation and can be prevented by simple means such as increasing the level of engagement required by the focal task. 

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