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Cognitive Hearing Science: Three Memory Systems, Two Approaches, and the Ease of Language Understanding Model
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7311-9959
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1896-8250
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology.
2021 (English)In: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, ISSN 1558-9102, Vol. 64, no 2, p. 359-370Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to conceptualize the subtle balancing act between language input and prediction (cognitive priming of future input) to achieve understanding of communicated content. When understanding fails, reconstructive postdiction is initiated. Three memory systems play important roles: working memory (WM), episodic long-term memory (ELTM), and semantic long-term memory (SLTM). The axiom of the Ease of Language Understanding (ELU) model is that explicit WM resources are invoked by a mismatch between language input—in the form of rapid automatic multimodal binding of phonology—and multimodal phonological and lexical representations in SLTM. However, if there is a match between rapid automatic multimodal binding of phonology output and SLTM/ELTM representations, language processing continues rapidly and implicitly.

Method and Results

In our first ELU approach, we focused on experimental manipulations of signal processing in hearing aids and background noise to cause a mismatch with LTM representations; both resulted in increased dependence on WM. Our second—and main approach relevant for this review article—focuses on the relative effects of age-related hearing loss on the three memory systems. According to the ELU, WM is predicted to be frequently occupied with reconstruction of what was actually heard, resulting in a relative disuse of phonological/lexical representations in the ELTM and SLTM systems. The prediction and results do not depend on test modality per se but rather on the particular memory system. This will be further discussed.

Conclusions

Related to the literature on ELTM decline as precursors of dementia and the fact that the risk for Alzheimer's disease increases substantially over time due to hearing loss, there is a possibility that lowered ELTM due to hearing loss and disuse may be part of the causal chain linking hearing loss and dementia. Future ELU research will focus on this possibility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2021. Vol. 64, no 2, p. 359-370
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-173827DOI: 10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00007ISI: 000671810000007PubMedID: 33439747OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-173827DiVA, id: diva2:1535467
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-06092Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Note

Funding: Swedish Research CouncilSwedish Research CouncilEuropean Commission [2017-06092]; Linnaeus Centre HEAD - Swedish Research Council; FORTE: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare

Available from: 2021-03-09 Created: 2021-03-09 Last updated: 2021-12-28

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Rönnberg, JerkerHolmer, EmilRudner, Mary

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