Multitasking During Degraded Speech Recognition in School-Age Children

Grieco-Calub, T. M., Ward, K. M., & Brehm, L. (2017). Multitasking During Degraded Speech Recognition in School-Age Children. Trends in hearing, 21, 1-14. doi:10.1177/2331216516686786.
Multitasking requires individuals to allocate their cognitive resources across different tasks. The purpose of the current study was to assess school-age children’s multitasking abilities during degraded speech recognition. Children (8 to 12 years old) completed a dual-task paradigm including a sentence recognition (primary) task containing speech that was either unpro- cessed or noise-band vocoded with 8, 6, or 4 spectral channels and a visual monitoring (secondary) task. Children’s accuracy and reaction time on the visual monitoring task was quantified during the dual-task paradigm in each condition of the primary task and compared with single-task performance. Children experienced dual-task costs in the 6- and 4-channel conditions of the primary speech recognition task with decreased accuracy on the visual monitoring task relative to baseline performance. In all conditions, children’s dual-task performance on the visual monitoring task was strongly predicted by their single-task (baseline) performance on the task. Results suggest that children’s proficiency with the secondary task contributes to the magnitude of dual-task costs while multitasking during degraded speech recognition.
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