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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 77  |  Page : 191--197

An analysis of error patterns in children's backward digit recall in noise

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Correspondence Address:
Homira Osman
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, 1417 NE 42nd St., Seattle, Washington - 98105A
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.160684

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The purpose of the study was to determine whether perceptual masking or cognitive processing accounts for a decline in working memory performance in the presence of competing speech. The types and patterns of errors made on the backward digit span in quiet and multitalker babble at -5 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were analyzed. The errors were classified into two categories: item (if digits that were not presented in a list were repeated) and order (if correct digits were repeated but in an incorrect order). Fifty five children with normal hearing were included. All the children were aged between 7 years and 10 years. Repeated measures of analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) revealed the main effects for error type and digit span length. In terms of listening condition interaction, it was found that the order errors occurred more frequently than item errors in the degraded listening condition compared to quiet. In addition, children had more difficulty recalling the correct order of intermediate items, supporting strong primacy and recency effects. Decline in children's working memory performance was not primarily related to perceptual difficulties alone. The majority of errors was related to the maintenance of sequential order information, which suggests that reduced performance in competing speech may result from increased cognitive processing demands in noise.


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