The purpose of this study was to use mismatch responses (MMRs) to explore the dynamic changes of Mandarin speech perception abilities from early to middle childhood. Twenty preschoolers, 18 school-aged children, and 26 adults participated in this study. Two sets of synthesized speech stimuli varying in Mandarin consonant (alveolo-palatal affricate vs. fricative) and lexical tone features (rising vs. contour tone) were used to examine the developmental course of speech perception abilities. The results indicated that only the adult group demonstrated typical early mismatch negativity (MMN) responses, suggesting that the ability to discriminate specific speech cues in Mandarin consonant and lexical tone is a continuing process in preschool- and school-aged children. Additionally, distinct MMR patterns provided evidence indicating diverse developmental courses to different speech characteristics. By incorporating data from the two speech conditions, we propose using MMR profiles consisting of mismatch negativity (MMN), positive mismatch response (p-MMR), and late discriminative negativity (LDN) as possible brain indices to investigate speech perception development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)