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Neural correlates of speech quality dimensions analyzed using electroencephalography (EEG)
Citation key uhrig2019a
Author Uhrig, Stefan and Mittag, Gabriel and Möller, Sebastian and Voigt-Antons, Jan-Niklas
Pages 036009
Year 2019
ISSN 1741-2552
DOI 10.1088/1741-2552/aaf122
Journal Journal of Neural Engineering
Volume 16
Number 3
Month mar
Note electronic, online
Publisher IOP Publishing
How Published Fullpaper
Abstract Objective. By means of subjective psychophysical methods, quality of transmitted speech has been decomposed into three perceptual dimensions named ‚discontinuity‚ (F), ‚noisiness‚ (N) and ‚coloration‚ (C). Previous studies using electroencephalography (EEG) already reported effects of perceived intensity of single quality dimensions on electrical brain activity. However, it has not been investigated so far, whether the dimensions themselves are dissociable on a neurophysiological level of analysis. Approach. Pursuing this goal in the present study, a high-quality (HQ) recording of a spoken word was degraded on each dimension at a time, resulting in three quality-impaired stimuli (F, N, C) which were on average described as being equal in perceived degradation intensity. Participants performed a three-stimulus oddball task, involving the serial presentation of different stimulus types: (1) HQ or degraded ‚standard‚ stimuli to establish sensory/perceptual quality references. (2) Degraded ‚oddball‚ stimuli to cause random, infrequent deviations from those references. EEG was employed to examine the neuro-electrical correlates of speech quality perception. Main results. Emphasis was placed on modulations in temporal and morphological characteristics of the P300 component of the event-related brain potential (ERP), whose subcomponents P3a and P3b are commonly linked to attentional orienting and task relevance categorization, respectively. Electrophysiological data analysis revealed significant modulations of P300 amplitude and latency by the perceptual dimensions underlying both quality references and oddball stimuli. Significance. The present study exemplifies the utility of physiological methods like EEG for dissociating speech degradations not only based on perceived intensity level, but also their distinctive quality dimension.
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