The effects of background noise on dichotic listening to consonant-vowel syllables

Research Area: Research Year: 2008
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: Dichotic listening, ear advantage, Lateralization of verbal processing
Authors: Dos Santos Sequeira, S.; Specht, Karsten; Hämäläinen, H.; Hugdahl, Kenneth
Lateralization of verbal processing is frequently studied with the dichotic listening technique, yielding a so called right ear advantage (REA) to consonant-vowel (CV) syllables. However, little is known about how background noise affects the REA. To address this issue, we presented CV-syllables either in silence or with traffic background noise vs. 'babble'. Both 'babble' and traffic noise resulted in a smaller REA compared to the silent condition. The traffic noise, moreover, had a significantly greater negative effect on the REA than the 'babble', caused both by a decreased right ear response as well as an increased left ear response. The results are discussed in terms of alertness and attentional factors.
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