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Exploring Cognitive Spare Capacity: Executive Processing of Degraded Speech
Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Cognitive resources, specifically working memory capacity are used for listening to speech, especially in noise. Cognitive resources are limited, and if listeners allocate a greater share of these resources to recovering the input signal in noise, fewer resources are available for interpreting and encoding its linguistic content. Although the importance of CSC for individual success in communicative situations has been acknowledged, this concept has not hitherto been explored experimentally. In this thesis, a CSC test (CSCT) was developed and administered to young adults with normal hearing and older adults with age-related hearing loss. CSCT required executive processing of speech at different memory loads with and without visual cues in different noise conditions. A free recall task using the same material was administered for comparison purposes and a battery of cognitive tests was administered to understand the relation between CSC and established cognitive concepts. The aims of the thesis were to investigate how CSC is influenced by 1) different executive demands and memory loads; 2) background noise; 3) visual cues; 4) aging and concomitant hearing loss. The results showed that 1) CSC was sensitive to memory load, and updating demands reduced CSC more than inhibition demands; 2) CSC was reduced in background noise compared to quiet; 3) visual cues enhanced CSC especially in noise; 4) CSC was reduced with ageing and concomitant hearing loss especially when visual cues were absent, memory demands were  increased and background noise was speech-like. The main finding of this thesis was that visual cues enhanced CSC for older individuals with hearing loss, specifically in adverse listening conditions. This demonstrates the importance of audiovisual testing in audiological assessment. Further, specific cognitive resources depleted during listening in noise were at least partially compensated by other cognitive functions. This thesis is the first step towards a theoretical understanding of CSC and in future, tests of CSC may play a crucial role in planning rehabilitation of persons with hearing loss.

Abstract [sv]

Kognitiva resurser, speciellt arbetsminneskapacitet, förbrukas när vi lyssnar på tal, framförallt i bakgrundsbrus. De kognitiva resurserna är begränsade och ju större del som används till att rekonstruera en inkommande signal, desto färre finns fortsatt tillgängliga för att koda in och tolka dess språkliga innehåll. Trots att betydelsen av kognitiv reservkapacitet för framgångrik kommunikation är erkänd har kognitiv reservkapacitet hittills inte blivit undersökt experimentellt. I detta avhandlingsarbete utvecklades CSCT som ett test av kognitiv reservkapacitet. CSCT administrerades till unga vuxna med normal hörsel och äldre individer med åldersrelaterad hörselnedsättning. CSCT kräver exekutiv bearbetning av talat språk under olika minnesbelastningar, med och utan tillgång till visuell information och med och utan bakgrundsbrus. En fri återgivningsuppgift, baserad på samma material som i CSCT, administrerades för att kunna göra jämförelser. Slutligen administrerades ett kognitivt testbatteri för att förstå relationen mellan kognitiv reservkapacitet och andra kognitiva funktioner. Avhandlingens syfte var att undersöka hur kognitiv reservkapacitet påverkas av 1) olika krav på de exekutiva förmågorna och olika grad av minnesbelastning; 2) bakgrundsbrus; 3) tillgång till visuell information; 4) åldrande och åldersrelaterad hörselnedsättning. Resultaten visade att kognitiv reservkapacitet 1) var känsligt för minnesbelastning och reducerades mer av uppdaterings- än inhibitionskrav; 2) reducerades av bakgrundsbrus; 3) ökade med tillgång till visuell information, framförallt i bakgrundsbrus; 4) var reducerad hos äldre med åldersrelaterad hörselnedsättning, speciellt när visuell information saknades, minnesbelastningen ökades och bakgrundsbruset bestod av talspråk. Huvudfyndet var att visuell information frigjorde kognitiv reservkapacitet hos äldre individer med nedsatt hörsel, speciellt när lyssningssituationen var ogynnsam. Detta visar på betydelsen av audiovisuell testning vid audiologisk bedömning. Resultaten visade vidare att när specifika kognitiva resurser förbrukades under ogynnsamma lyssningsförhållanden kunde andra kognitiva funktioner kompensera för detta. Denna avhandling utgör det första steget mot en teoretisk förståelse av kognitiv reservkapacitet. På sikt kan utvärdering av kognitiv reservkapacitet spela en avgörande roll för planering av rehabilitering i samband med hörselnedsättning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. , 58 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 611Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 58
Keyword [en]
Working memory, cognitive spare capacity, updating, inhibition
Keyword [sv]
Arbetsminne, kognitiv reservkapacitet, uppdatering, inhibition
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104946DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-104946ISBN: 978-91-7519-386-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-104946DiVA: diva2:700255
Public defence
2014-03-21, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-03-04 Created: 2014-03-04 Last updated: 2017-01-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Visual Information Can Hinder Working Memory Processing of Speech
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Visual Information Can Hinder Working Memory Processing of Speech
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2013 (English)In: Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, ISSN 1092-4388, E-ISSN 1558-9102, Vol. 56, no 4, 1120-1132 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the new Cognitive Spare Capacity Test (CSCT), which measures aspects of working memory capacity for heard speech in the audiovisual and auditory-only modalities of presentation.

METHOD:

In Experiment 1, 20 young adults with normal hearing performed the CSCT and an independent battery of cognitive tests. In the CSCT, they listened to and recalled 2-digit numbers according to instructions inducing executive processing at 2 different memory loads. In Experiment 2, 10 participants performed a less executively demanding free recall task using the same stimuli.

RESULTS:

CSCT performance demonstrated an effect of memory load and was associated with independent measures of executive function and inference making but not with general working memory capacity. Audiovisual presentation was associated with lower CSCT scores but higher free recall performance scores.

CONCLUSIONS:

CSCT is an executively challenging test of the ability to process heard speech. It captures cognitive aspects of listening related to sentence comprehension that are quantitatively and qualitatively different from working memory capacity. Visual information provided in the audiovisual modality of presentation can hinder executive processing in working memory of nondegraded speech material.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2013
Keyword
auditory processing, cognitive spare capacity, executive functions, free recall, speech understanding, working memory
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-96596 (URN)10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0033) (DOI)000328266600006 ()23785180 (PubMedID)
Projects
Fas Lyssna
Available from: 2013-08-21 Created: 2013-08-21 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Seeing the talker’s face supports executive processing of speech in steady state noise
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Seeing the talker’s face supports executive processing of speech in steady state noise
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2013 (English)In: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5137, Vol. 7, no 96Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Listening to speech in noise depletes cognitive resources, affecting speech processing. The present study investigated how remaining resources or cognitive spare capacity (CSC) can be deployed by young adults with normal hearing. We administered a test of CSC (CSCT; Mishra et al., 2013) along with a battery of established cognitive tests to 20 participants with normal hearing. In the CSCT, lists of two-digit numbers were presented with and without visual cues in quiet, as well as in steady-state and speech-like noise at a high intelligibility level. In low load conditions, two numbers were recalled according to instructions inducing executive processing (updating, inhibition) and in high load conditions the participants were additionally instructed to recall one extra number, which was the always the first item in the list. In line with previous findings, results showed that CSC was sensitive to memory load and executive function but generally not related to working memory capacity (WMC). Furthermore, CSCT scores in quiet were lowered by visual cues, probably due to distraction. In steady-state noise, the presence of visual cues improved CSCT scores, probably by enabling better encoding. Contrary to our expectation, CSCT performance was disrupted more in steady-state than speech-like noise, although only without visual cues, possibly because selective attention could be used to ignore the speech-like background and provide an enriched representation of target items in working memory similar to that obtained in quiet. This interpretation is supported by a consistent association between CSCT scores and updating skills.

Keyword
cognitive spare capacity, executive processing, working memory, updating, inhibition, speech processing
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103025 (URN)10.3389/fnsys.2013.00096 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-01-09 Created: 2014-01-09 Last updated: 2017-11-06
3. Cognitive spare capacity in older adults with hearing loss
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cognitive spare capacity in older adults with hearing loss
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2014 (English)In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, ISSN 1663-4365, E-ISSN 1663-4365, Vol. 6, no 96Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) are associated with speech recognition in adverse conditions, reflecting the need to maintain and process speech fragments until lexical access can be achieved. When working memory resources are engaged in unlocking the lexicon, there is less Cognitive Spare Capacity (CSC) available for higher level processing of speech. CSC is essential for interpreting the linguistic content of speech input and preparing an appropriate response, that is, engaging in conversation. Previously, we showed, using a Cognitive Spare Capacity Test (CSCT) that in young adults with normal hearing, CSC was not generally related to WMC and that when CSC decreased in noise it could be restored by visual cues. In the present study, we investigated CSC in 24 older adults with age-related hearing loss, by administering the CSCT and a battery of cognitive tests. We found generally reduced CSC in older adults with hearing loss compared to the younger group in our previous study, probably because they had poorer cognitive skills and deployed them differently. Importantly, CSC was not reduced in the older group when listening conditions were optimal. Visual cues improved CSC more for this group than for the younger group in our previous study. CSC of older adults with hearing loss was not generally related to WMC but it was consistently related to episodic long term memory, suggesting that the efficiency of this processing bottleneck is important for executive processing of speech in this group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Research Foundation, 2014
Keyword
cognitive spare capacity; episodic long-term memory; inhibition; updating; working memory
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109469 (URN)10.3389/fnagi.2014.00096 (DOI)000339434700001 ()24904409 (PubMedID)
Note

The previous status of this article was Manuscript and the working title was Adverse listening conditions disrupt executive processing of speech more for older adults with hearing impairment than for younger adults with normal hearing.

Available from: 2014-08-19 Created: 2014-08-19 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Seeing the talker’s face improves free recall of speech for young adults with normal hearing but not older adults with hearing loss
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Seeing the talker’s face improves free recall of speech for young adults with normal hearing but not older adults with hearing loss
Show others...
2016 (English)In: Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, ISSN 1092-4388, E-ISSN 1558-9102, Vol. 59, 590-599 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose Seeing the talker's face improves speech understanding in noise, possibly releasing resources for cognitive processing. We investigated whether it improves free recall of spoken two-digit numbers.

Method Twenty younger adults with normal hearing and 24 older adults with hearing loss listened to and subsequently recalled lists of 13 two-digit numbers, with alternating male and female talkers. Lists were presented in quiet as well as in stationary and speech-like noise at a signal-to-noise ratio giving approximately 90% intelligibility. Amplification compensated for loss of audibility.

Results Seeing the talker's face improved free recall performance for the younger but not the older group. Poorer performance in background noise was contingent on individual differences in working memory capacity. The effect of seeing the talker's face did not differ in quiet and noise.

Conclusions We have argued that the absence of an effect of seeing the talker's face for older adults with hearing loss may be due to modulation of audiovisual integration mechanisms caused by an interaction between task demands and participant characteristics. In particular, we suggest that executive task demands and interindividual executive skills may play a key role in determining the benefit of seeing the talker's face during a speech-based cognitive task

National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology) General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126019 (URN)10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-15-0014 (DOI)000386781500016 ()
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research [2007-0788].

The previous status of this article was Manuscript and the working title was Updating ability reduces the negative effect of noise on memory of speech for persons with age-related hearing loss.

Available from: 2016-03-11 Created: 2016-03-11 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved

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