This study investigates the effect of tone inventories on brain activities underlying pitch without focal attention. We find that the electrophysiological responses to across-category stimuli are larger than those to within-category stimuli when the pitch contours are superimposed on nonspeech stimuli; however, there is no electrophysiological response difference associated with category status in speech stimuli. Moreover, this category effect in nonspeech stimuli is stronger for Cantonese speakers. Results of previous and present studies lead us to conclude that brain activities to the same native lexical tone contrasts are modulated by speakers' language experiences not only in active phonological processing but also in automatic feature detection without focal attention. In contrast to the condition with focal attention, where phonological processing is stronger for speech stimuli, the feature detection (pitch contours in this study) without focal attention as shaped by language background is superior in relatively regular stimuli, that is, the nonspeech stimuli. The results suggest that Cantonese listeners outperform Mandarin listeners in automatic detection of pitch features because of the denser Cantonese tone system.
|Journal||Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Modelling and Simulation
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Applied Mathematics