An Analysis of Sentence Repetitions in a Single-Talker Interference Task

by Hilary Parlette

Institution: Bowling Green State University
Department: Communication Disorders
Degree: MS
Year: 2015
Keywords: Speech Therapy; Single-talker interference; difficult listening; sentence repetition errors; nonimpaired sentence repetition; non-native talker; speech processing
Record ID: 2058327
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1429046631


Listening to speech is a complex process which is made more difficult when distractions, such as noise or other speech, occur at the same time. People often experience competing speech signals in daily life, such as at a noisy restaurant where they must regulate their attention to focus on the target and block out distractions. This study examined complex speech processing using a single-talker interference task, which requires participants to listen to two talkers simultaneously, ignoring a distracter talker while repeating a target talker. The talkers in this study were a native speaker of English (NS) and a non-native speaker of English (NNS). Twelve nonimpaired participants’ listening accuracy (measured by target words repeated) was observed in the contexts of nativeness of speaker, participant characteristics, and performance of standardized measures. No significant correlations were found between cognitive measures and repetition accuracy. An interaction effect was found between the variables of foreign language experience and repetition accuracy of the NS target sentences. This study also included a descriptive observation of participants’ repetition errors, intended as a first step toward identifying possible strategies nonimpaired individuals use in difficult listening situations. The most common types of errors participants made during sentence repetitions were phonetic and semantic errors. There were no significant correlations between error types and accuracy of target repetition. Future research should continue to explore patterns and strategies in complex listening by including participant interviews. Additionally, a future study should include participants with traumatic brain injury to compare their performance on this single-talker interference task as well as their error types to those of nonimpaired participants.