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J Acoust Soc Am. 2017 Jun;141(6):4652. doi: 10.1121/1.4986930.

Cognitive factors as predictors of accented speech perception for younger and older adults.

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School of Communication Science and Disorders, Florida State University, 201 West Bloxham Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, USA.


Though some studies suggest that older adults are not differentially impacted by foreign-accented speech relative to younger adults, other studies indicate that older adults are poorer at perceiving foreign-accented speech than younger adults. The present study sought, first, to clarify the extent to which older and younger adults differed in their perception of foreign-accented speech. The secondary aim was to elucidate the extent to which the cognitive mechanisms supporting accented speech perception differ for older and younger adults. The data indicated that older adults were poorer at perceiving accented speech than younger adults. Older adults' speech perception accuracy was associated with a significant main effect of working memory as well as significant interactions between hearing acuity and cognitive flexibility and between hearing acuity and inhibitory control. Younger adults' speech perception accuracy, in contrast, was associated with a significant interaction between hearing acuity and processing speed. It therefore appears that the differences in performance between younger and older adults observed here may be attributable to differences in the cognitive mechanisms that support accented speech perception.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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