P14Session 2 (Friday 12 January 2024, 09:00-11:30)The Reading Span Task as a means to measure the predictive ability of various aspects of working memory to speech in noise perception
In addition to the ability to hear, accurate speech-in-noise perception also requires contributions from cognitive abilities. The cognitive ability that is examined most often in the context of speech-in-noise (SiN) perception is working memory (WM). According to Baddeley and Hitch (1974, doi:10.1016/S0079-7421(08)60452-1) two components are critical for WM: a storage component and a manipulation component. WM tasks differ in how they combine these two components. One WM task commonly used in the context of speech perception is the reading span task (RST). Why the RST works so well to predict speech-in-noise perception performance is not well understood. It is also not well understood whether it is the storage or the manipulation component that has the highest predictive value, or whether both components combine to maximise the task’s predictive value. Finally, it remains to be understood whether the predictive ability of the RSTs’ two components differs either for different groups of listeners or for different speech-in-noise tasks.
We assessed performance of the storage and manipulation components of an RST and related them to the perceptual accuracy of several SiN tasks in two groups of normal-hearing young listeners: English native speakers and English non-native speakers. This is the first experiment in a programme aimed to fully understand the predictive ability of the reading span task for various groups off listeners and tasks and to explore the use of the RST for audiological practice.