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Poster E12, Saturday, August 18, 3:00 – 4:45 pm, Room 2000AB

Formal and temporal predictions in speech perception

Alexandra K. Emmendorfer1,2,3, Joao Correia1,2,4, Joëlle Schroën1, Bernadette M. Jansma1,2, Sonja A. Kotz3, Milene L. Bonte1,2;1Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2Maastricht Brain Imaging Center, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 3Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 4Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, San Sebastian, Spain

When processing our environment, our brain makes use of prior knowledge to formulate formal (‘what’) and temporal (‘when’) predictions of upcoming sensory events, thereby maximizing the efficiency of sensory processing and facilitating perception under noisy conditions. These predictions are valuable to perception and skill learning across a number of cognitive domains, including spoken and written language skills. Within the context of language, formal and temporal predictions may be made at the level of the phonotactic probability and syllable stress pattern, respectively. The current experiment aimed to examine the neurophysiological correlates of these prediction in speech perception, and their relationship to reading, phonological, and rhythmic skills. In a passive EEG oddball paradigm, we manipulate formal and temporal predictions in bisyllabic Dutch pseudowords (‘notsal’ and ‘notkal’, adapted from Bonte et al., 2005), where deviants differ from the standard (SD) in terms of their phonotactic (formal deviant, FD) and stress pattern (temporal deviant, TD) probabilities. Based on the distributional frequency of the co-occurrence of speech sounds in the Dutch language, the sound combinations ‘-ts-‘ and ‘-tk-‘ are considered to have high and low phonotactic probability, respectively. Similarly, first syllable stress (SylS1) is considered the more probable stress pattern compared to second syllable stress (SylS2). In four separate experimental conditions, each stimulus functions as standard, formal, and temporal deviant. This allows comparing ERP waveforms elicited for the exact same stimuli across conditions, thereby enabling the investigation of mismatch response in terms of formal and temporal predictability of the stimuli beyond acoustic stimulus differences. Previous studies manipulating phonotactic probability and syllable stress using the oddball paradigm have reported a sensitivity of the mismatch response to these measures. In these studies, high phonotactic probability (e.g Bonte et al., 2005) and second syllable stress (i.e. less probable syllable stress, e.g. Honbolygo et al., 2013) result in increased MMN suggesting distinct processing mechanisms. 24 right-handed, native Dutch speakers (10 male, mean age = 22.6) were included in the current experiment. In addition to the EEG experiment, behavioral tests were administered to test the participants phonological, reading and rhythmic skills. We predict that both formal and temporal deviants will show a mismatch response modulated by the relative predictability of the measures. Additionally, we expect the mismatch response to scale with behavioral scores. Preliminary findings suggest an overall effect of phonotactic probability on peak latency, with effects of stimulus type (deviant vs. standard) on peak amplitude. Furthermore, deviants in the syllable stress also induce increased peak latency and amplitude. This paradigm may later be applied to study the processing of formal and temporal predictions in children with dyslexia, to characterize differences from normally reading children and elucidate the role of formal and temporal predictions in language development. Bonte, M. L., Mitterer, H., Zellagui, N., Poelmans, H., & Blomert, L. (2005). Auditory cortical tuning to statistical regularities in phonology. Clinical Neurophysiology, 116(12), 2765-2774. Honbolygó, F., & Csépe, V. (2013). Saliency or template? ERP evidence for long-term representation of word stress. International journal of psychophysiology, 87(2), 165-172.

Topic Area: Perception: Speech Perception and Audiovisual Integration