DOI: Hypotheses concerning CAEP development were that the latency and amplitude input-output functions would reflect immaturity in encoding stimulus level. In a second experiment, infants were tested with the same stimuli used to evoke the CAEPs.
So for example consider the number of words in the Gertrude Stein line from her poem Sacred Emily on the page in front of the reader's eyes: Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. Peircesec. Types are generally said to be abstract and unique; tokens are concrete particulars, composed of ink, pixels of light or the suitably circumscribed lack thereof on a computer screen, electronic strings of dots and dashes, smoke signals, hand signals, sound waves, etc.
Thresholds for these stimuli were determined using observer-based psychophysical techniques. The hypothesis was that the behavioral thresholds would be correlated with CAEP input-output functions because of shared cortical response areas known to be active in tokens tone detection.
First, CAEPs amplitude and latency input-output functions were obtained for 4 tone bursts and tokens tone speech tokens. The tone bursts stimuli were 50 ms tokens of pure tones at 0.
All CAEP tests were completed while the infants were awake and engaged in tokens tone play. For the second experiment, observer-based psychophysical methods were used to establish perceptual threshold for the same speech sound and tone tokens.
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CAEP latency-intensity input output functions were steeper in infants compared to adults. Infant perceptual thresholds were elevated with respect to those found in adults. Furthermore, perceptual thresholds were higher, on average, than levels at which CAEPs could be obtained.
- Dynamics of infant cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) for tone and speech tokens
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Conclusions: Although CAEP latencies indicate immaturity in neural transmission at the level of the cortex, amplitude growth with respect to stimulus SPL is adult-like at this age, particularly for the earliest component, P1-N1.
The latency and amplitude input-output functions may provide additional information as to how infants perceive stimulus level. The reasons for the discrepancy between electrophysiologic and perceptual threshold may be due to immaturity in perceptual temporal resolution abilities and the broad-band listening strategy employed by infants.
The findings from the current study can be translated to the clinical setting. It is possible to use tokens tone or speech sound tokens to evoke CAEPs in an awake, passively alert infant, and thus determine whether these sounds activate the auditory cortex. This could be beneficial in the verification of hearing aid or cochlear implant benefit.
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