Identification of syllables in noise: Electrophysiological and behavioral correlates

Ricky Kaplan-Neeman*, Liat Kishon-Rabin, Yael Henkin, Chava Muchnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to characterize the effect of background noise on the identification of syllables using behavioral and electrophysiological measures. Twenty normal-hearing adults (18-30 years) performed an identification task in a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm. Stimuli consisted of naturally produced syllables /da/ and /ga/ embedded in white noise. The noise was initiated 1000 ms before the onset of the speech stimuli in order to separate the auditory event related potentials (AERP) response to noise onset from that to the speech. Syllables were presented in quiet and in five SNRs: +15, +3, 0, -3, and -6 dB. Results show that (1) performance accuracy, d′, and reaction time were affected by the noise, more so for reaction time; (2) both N1 and P3 latency were prolonged as noise levels increased, more so for P3; (3) /ga/ was better identified than /da/, in all noise conditions; and (4) P3 latency was longer for /da/ than for /ga/ for SNR 0 through -6 dB, while N1 latency was longer for /ga/ than for /da/ in most listening conditions. In conclusion, the unique stimuli structure utilized in this study demonstrated the effects of noise on speech recognition at both the physical and the perceptual processing levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-933
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006


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