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Title: Hemispheric specialisation of tone perception : evidence from dichotic listening tests in English and Mandarin
Author: Hsu, Fang-Chia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 3994
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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In this study, dichotic listening tasks were conducted in English and Mandarin speakers to evaluate: (1) the effects of processing two acoustically different languages; (2) the effects of sex; (3) the effects of voice onset time (VOT). In Experiment 1, 24 English and 24 Mandarin right-handed speaking participants were tested with an existing English syllable test and a newly developed Mandarin syllable test. In Experiment 2, 40 English and 40 Mandarin right-handed speaking participants were tested with a series of newly developed dichotic listening tests. In both experiments, dichotic listening tasks were constructed to test the impact of lexical tones on lateralised perception of English and Mandarin monosyllables. These results indicated that lexical tones were primarily processed by the left hemisphere in native speakers of tonal languages whereas the left- hemispheric specialisation was relatively weaker in speakers with no prior knowledge of lexical tones. All groups, except Mandarin speaking males were more lateralised on the English syllables. In addition, men exhibited a greater right ear advantage (REA) than women, indicating sex effects in the magnitude of REA. This sex difference was present mainly for English speaking men on the English test and the Mandarin speaking men on the Mandarin test. These results indicate that cultural language experience/learning effects may interact with biological sex differences in speech perception. Furthermore, Experiment 3 reveals that syllable pairs with a short VOT English syllable in the left ear and a long VOT English syllable in the right ear elicited the strongest REA. This finding indicates that VOT of the test materials may also affect ear preference. The overall results indicate that speech perception is affected by language background, sex and characteristics of the syllables tested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available