Investigating Intentional Switching of Spatial Auditory Selective Attention in an Experiment with Preschool Children (de)

* Presenting author
Day / Time: 08.03.2023, 14:20-14:40
Room: Saal X 7-8
Typ: Regulärer Vortrag

During auditory development, children are confronted with the challenge of orienting themselves in complex acoustic situations. For this, they need to focus on a relevant target sound while ignoring simultaneous distracting sounds in a multi-layered acoustic environment, which is known as auditory selective attention. In everyday communication situations, e.g., when children are suddenly called by an educator while talking to each other, they need to be able to intentionally shift their attention from one target sound to another. A paradigm to study intentional switching of auditory selective attention was extended for school children at the Institute for Hearing Technology and Acoustics in Aachen. It considers close to real-life aspects such as spatial reproduction and background noise in a virtual acoustic environment. The setup was modified to suit preschool children. To investigate possible age effects in intentional switching of auditory selective attention in preschool children, a listening experiment was conducted with 91 children (3-6 years, 47.25% female) in several daycare centers in Aachen. The results revealed attention switch costs validating the paradigm and they showed an influence of background noise. In addition, an increase in response time between three- and five-year-olds was found suggesting an increment of cognitive processing speed.



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