Spectral weights in level discrimination by preschool children: Analytic listening conditions

Mark A. Stellmack, Melodie S. Willihnganz, Frederic L. Wightman, Robert A. Lutfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this series of experiments, adult and child listeners were required to attend to a target tone in the presence of two distracters and to indicate in which of two intervals the target tone had the higher level. The attentional weight listeners placed on each component was estimated by computing the correlation between the level change of each component across intervals and the listener's response. In the first experiment, weights were obtained as a function of the mean level of the distracters (250 and 4000 Hz) for a 1000-Hz target. No consistent differences between the weighting functions of children and adults were observed. In a second experiment, weights were obtained as a function of the harmonic relationship between the distracters (250 and 4000 Hz, or 270 and 4320 Hz) and the 1000-Hz target. No difference was observed between the weighting functions computed with harmonic and inharmonic complexes. In the final experiment, each component of the complex (250, 1000, and 4000 Hz) was identified as the target in separate blocks of trials. In general, adults were able to weight the target component appropriately regardless of its frequency, while children tended to weight all components equally. The results suggest that preschool listeners may exhibit poorer attentional selectivity than adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2811-2821
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume101
Issue number5 I
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1997

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