Aging and non-native speech perception: A phonetic training study

Henna Tamminen, Teija Kujala, Risto Näätänen, Maija S. Peltola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Cognitive decline is evident in the elderly and it affects speech perception and foreign language learning. A listen-and-repeat training with a challenging speech sound contrast was earlier found to be effective in young monolingual adults and even in advanced L2 university students at the attentive and pre-attentive levels. This study investigates foreign language speech perception in the elderly with the same protocol used with the young adults. Training effects were measured with attentive behavioural measures (N = 9) and with electroencephalography measuring the pre-attentive mismatch negativity (MMN) response (N = 10). Training was effective in identification, but not in discrimination and there were no changes in the MMN. The most attention demanding perceptual functions which benefit from experience-based linguistic knowledge were facilitated through training, whereas pre-attentive processing was unaffected. The elderly would probably benefit from different training types compared to younger adults.
Original languageEnglish
Article number135430
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • Training
  • Speech perception
  • Phonological processing
  • Aging
  • Mismatch negativity (MMN)
  • 515 Psychology
  • 6162 Cognitive science

Cite this