Auditory temporal-order processing of vowel sequences by young and elderly listeners

Daniel Fogerty, Larry E. Humes, Diane Kewley-Port

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This project focused on the individual differences underlying observed variability in temporal processing among older listeners. Four measures of vowel temporal-order identification were completed by young (N=35; 18-31 years) and older (N=151; 60-88 years) listeners. Experiments used forced-choice, constant-stimuli methods to determine the smallest stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between brief (40 or 70 ms) vowels that enabled identification of a stimulus sequence. Four words (pit, pet, pot, and put) spoken by a male talker were processed to serve as vowel stimuli. All listeners identified the vowels in isolation with better than 90% accuracy. Vowel temporal-order tasks included the following: (1) monaural two-item identification, (2) monaural four-item identification, (3) dichotic two-item vowel identification, and (4) dichotic two-item ear identification. Results indicated that older listeners had more variability and performed poorer than young listeners on vowel-identification tasks, although a large overlap in distributions was observed. Both age groups performed similarly on the dichotic ear-identification task. For both groups, the monaural four-item and dichotic two-item tasks were significantly harder than the monaural two-item task. Older listeners' SOA thresholds improved with additional stimulus exposure and shorter dichotic stimulus durations. Individual differences of temporal-order performance among the older listeners demonstrated the influence of cognitive measures, but not audibility or age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2509-2520
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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