Sex differences in early sensorimotor processing for speech discrimination

David Thornton, Ashley Harkrider, David E. Jenson, Tim Saltuklaroglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sensorimotor activity in speech perception tasks varies as a function of context, cognitive load, and cognitive ability. This study investigated listener sex as an additional variable. Raw EEG data were collected as 21 males and 21 females discriminated /ba/ and /da/ in quiet and noisy backgrounds. Independent component analyses of data from accurately discriminated trials identified sensorimotor mu components with characteristic alpha and beta peaks from 16 members of each sex. Time-frequency decompositions showed that in quiet discrimination, females displayed stronger early mu-alpha synchronization, whereas males showed stronger mu-beta desynchronization. Findings indicate that early attentional mechanisms for speech discrimination were characterized by sensorimotor inhibition in females and predictive sensorimotor activation in males. Both sexes showed stronger early sensorimotor inhibition in noisy discrimination conditions versus in quiet, suggesting sensory gating of the noise. However, the difference in neural activation between quiet and noisy conditions was greater in males than females. Though sex differences appear unrelated to behavioral accuracy, they suggest that males and females exhibit early sensorimotor processing for speech discrimination that is fundamentally different, yet similarly adaptable to adverse conditions. Findings have implications for understanding variability in neuroimaging data and the male prevalence in various neurodevelopmental disorders with inhibitory dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number392
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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Speech Perception
Sex Characteristics
Sensory Gating
Aptitude
Neuroimaging
Cognition
Noise
Electroencephalography

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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Sex differences in early sensorimotor processing for speech discrimination. / Thornton, David; Harkrider, Ashley; Jenson, David E.; Saltuklaroglu, Tim.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 9, No. 1, 392, 01.12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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