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Poster B48, Wednesday, November 8, 3:00 – 4:15 pm, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

Language effects for theta oscillatory activity within cortical sensory processing

Monica Wagner1, Silvia Ortiz-Mantilla2, Valerie Shafer3;1St. John's University, 2Rutgers University, 3The Graduate Center, CUNY

In a previous study of the auditory evoked potential (AEP) responses to native and non-native phoneme sequences within nonsense words, we demonstrated that the P1-N1-P2 and T-complex reflected recognition of spectro-temporal features within phoneme sequences similarly in native-English and native-Polish adults and subsequent sound processing reflected language group differences. These language group differences were reflected in a subgroup of participants for which vigilance to the speech stimuli was reduced. In order to further explore early sensory processing, time-frequency analysis in source space was conducted on this same group of participants. Research evidence of dynamic oscillatory changes has furthered our understanding of language processing in the brain. In the current study, we investigated sensory processing within theta oscillatory activations to the /pt/ consonant cluster that occurs in the Polish language in word onset, but not the English language. EEG was recorded as 24 participants (12 English and 12 Polish) listened to same and different nonsense word pairs. Nonsense words within the pairs contained the phoneme sequence onsets /pət/, /st/, /sət/ and /pt/. Using time-frequency analysis, induced (TSE, Temporal spectral evolution) and evoked (ITPL, Inter-trial phase locking) oscillatory activity was examined at source level. Sources of the N1 responses to the /pt/ onset were identified with a three-dipole model, which explained ~97% of the variance in the data. Statistical analyses were conducted using permutation testing and cluster identification. Our examination of theta oscillatory activity (4 – 8 Hz) showed that the English listeners elicited significantly more power (TSE) than the Polish listeners to the /pt/ cluster at the sensory processing level within auditory cortex through 500 ms. Also, the responses by the English listeners showed more phase locked activity (ITPL) to the non-native onset cluster in the same time window. These results may suggest less allocation of neural resources to the familiar phoneme sequence by the Polish listeners, while greater activation is needed for the English listeners to processes the unfamiliar phoneme sequence onset. Thus, analyses of oscillatory activity provided additional information pertaining to native and non-native language processing during sensory processing that was not found using traditional analysis of AEPs.

Topic Area: Perception: Auditory

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