Navigation Links
Your spouse's voice is easier to hear -- and easier to ignore
Date:8/28/2013

With so many other competing voices, having a conversation on a bustling subway or at a crowded cocktail party takes a great deal of concentration. New research suggests that the familiar voice of a spouse stands out against other voices, helping to sharpen auditory perception and making it easier to focus on one voice at a time.

"Familiar voices appear to influence the way an auditory 'scene' is perceptually organized," explains lead researcher Ingrid Johnsrude of Queen's University, Canada.

Johnsrude and her colleagues asked married couples, ages 44-79, to record themselves reading scripted instructions out loud. Later, each participant put on a pair of headphones and listened to the recording of his or her spouse as it played simultaneously with a recording of an unfamiliar voice.

On some trials, participants were told to report what their spouse said; on other trials, they were supposed to report what the unfamiliar voice said. The researchers wanted to see whether familiarity would make a difference in how well the participants understood what the target voice was saying.

The results, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, show a clear benefit of listening to the familiar voice.

Participants tended to be much more accurate on the task when they had to listen to their spouse's voice compared to an unfamiliar voice matched on both age and sex they perceived their spouse's voice more clearly. Furthermore, accuracy didn't change as participants got older when they were listening to their spouse's voice.

"The benefit of familiarity is very large," Johnsrude notes. "It's on the order of the benefit you see when trying to perceptually distinguish two sounds that come from different locations compared to sounds that come from the same location."

But when participants were asked to report the unfamiliar voice, age-related differences emerged.

Middle-aged adults seemed to be relatively adept at following the unfamiliar voice, especially when it was masked by their spouse's voice that is, they were better at understanding the unfamiliar voice when it was masked by their spouse's voice compared to when it was masked by another unfamiliar voice.

"The middle-aged adults were able to use what they knew about the familiar voice to perceptually separate and ignore it, so as to hear the unfamiliar voice better," Johnsrude explains.

But performance on these trials declined as the participants went up in age the older the participant was, the less able he or she was to report correctly what the unfamiliar voice was saying.

"Middle-age people can ignore their spouse older people aren't able to as much," Johnsrude concludes.

The researchers suggest that as people age, their ability to use what they know about voices to perceptually organize an auditory 'scene' may become compromised.

While this may make it more difficult for older adults to pick out an unfamiliar voice, it has an interesting consequence: The relative benefit of having a familiar voice as the target actually increases with age.

"These findings speak to a problem that is very common amongst older individuals difficulty hearing speech when there is background sound," Johnsrude says. "Our study identifies a cognitive factor voice familiarity that could help older listeners to hear better in these situations."


'/>"/>

Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Doctors Spouses, Partners Say Theyre Satisfied
2. Neck injuries linked to high costs for patients and spouses, reports study in Spine
3. Marriage May Cut Heart Attack Risk for Both Spouses
4. Abington Memorial Hospital and Gilda's Club Offer Spouses/Partner Support Group
5. Studies of Alzheimers Caregivers May Overlook Non-Spouses
6. Spouses of Heart Attack Victims May Face Heightened Depression Risk
7. Spouses of breast cancer survivors hold on to hope
8. Spouses of severe-sepsis patients at high risk of depression, U-M study shows
9. Spouses of Cancer Patients May Have Raised Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke
10. MyVoice Releases “College Life Pack” for TalkRocket Go Speech Aid App
11. Voices Against Brain Cancer Comments on New Technique Being Used by Surgeons that Lights Up Brain Tumors
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ODU, ... to the US market its advanced highly customizable contact technology solutions. , ODU ... These advanced technologies are ideal for a wide range of applications that require ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... provides insurance and financial consultation services to residents in the Sacramento/Folsom region, is ... Another Chance treatment facility. , The Another Choice Another Chance treatment center in ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... ... One of two inventors from Glen Burnie, Md., has a granddaughter who ... is why the co-inventor and I have designed a new and better way to ... of the patent-pending AV-AIR, a device that serves as an alternative to conventional methods ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... A. Kevin Spann ... and families throughout the Five Boroughs, is launching a charity drive to raise funds ... continue the traditions and spirit of marines and Navy FMF Corpsmen. Working closely with ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... Sharon Kleyne, host ... Climate Change and Your Health on Voice of America, declared on her radio program ... attention to the fact that when these bullies attack leaders in corporate America, they ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) has launched Diplomat Specialty ... IV Infusion Professional, BioRx, MedPro Rx, and XAS Infusion Suites. ... diplomat.is/specialty-infusion .  ... Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy (PRNewsFoto/Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc.) ... "As we continue to build on the work we have ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016  Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: ... its previously announced plans to separate its Imaging Components ... a tax-free distribution to Varian stockholders of common stock ... that will hold the Imaging Components business.  As part ... executed by the end of January 2017, Varian will ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016  Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... will present a company overview at the BMO Capital Markets Prescriptions ... New York, NY . A live webcast of ... of the Ionis website.  The replay will be available within 48 ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: