Research Topic

Cognitive Hearing Mechanisms of Language Understanding: Short- and Long-term Perspectives

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic is cross-listed in the Frontiers in Psychology section - Language Sciences

Cognitive Hearing Science is the new field that has emerged in ...

This Research Topic is cross-listed in the Frontiers in Psychology section - Language Sciences

Cognitive Hearing Science is the new field that has emerged in response to an increasing awareness of the critical role of cognition in communication (Arlinger et al., 2009). Characteristic of cognitive hearing science models is that they emphasize the subtle balancing act, or interplay between bottom-up and top-down aspects of language processing. Working memory, especially complex working memory capacity (WMC) is important for online language processing during conversation. We use it to maintain relevant information, to inhibit irrelevant information, and to attend selectively to the information we want to track, but WMC is also important for type memory encoding into episodic long-term memory.

Recent models of language understanding under adverse or distracting conditions have emphasized the complex interactions between working memory capacity (WMC), attention, executive functions, cognitive spare capacity (CSC) and episodic and semantic long-term memory (Mishra et al., 2013; Rönnberg et al., 2013). This kind of approach has already proven to be fruitful for a more comprehensive grasp of the interplay between bottom-up and top-down processes, including both online processes and long-term changes (negative or positive) due to hearing impairment/deafness and aging. The link between WMC/CSC and long-term memory functions is crucial to further understanding of the topic.

This Research Topic encourages submissions that can push this field forward by suggesting behavioral and neural mechanisms that are important for online language processing and for long-term cognitive change. Consequently, we welcome contributions that experimentally manipulate and test different models or hypotheses regarding the perceptual-cognitive interactions during challenging language processing conditions. We also welcome contributions that deal with the complex interaction between types of hearing loss, types of cognitive abilities supporting speech understanding under adverse conditions, and the use of hearing aids, not least from a longitudinal perspective. We encourage manuscripts that are either empirical or theoretical in nature.

The brain mechanisms that either facilitate or hinder smooth on-line language processes or long-term cognitive change are vital to the understanding of phenomena included in this exciting area. Central issues concern modality specificity of language materials and/or language modality specificity relating to on-line as well as long-term processes. Here, we encourage the presentation of new, innovative kinds of functional or anatomical brain measurement tools to elucidate the neurocognitive mechanisms involved.

The topic is not just about auditory aspects of speech but relates to the visual component of speech and to visual language, such as signed language. The topic also wants to stimulate cross-cultural comparisons of tests and tools that address the mechanisms involved. Not least, this topic will represent important clinical advances for audiologists, neurolinguists, neuropsychologists, and for cognitive hearing science as a whole.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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