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Gaps-in-noise detection and gender identification from noise-vocoded vowel segments: Comparing performance of active musicians to non-musicians
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This study evaluated performance on a gender identification and temporal resolution task among active musicians and age-matched non-musicians. Brief duration (i.e., 50 and 100 ms) vowel segments produced by four adult male and four adult female speakers were spectro-temporally degraded using various parameters and presented to both groups for gender identification. Gap detection thresholds were measured using the gaps-in-noise (GIN) test. Contrary to the stated hypothesis, a significant difference in gender identification was not observed between the musician and non-musician listeners. A significant difference, however, was observed on the temporal resolution task, with the musician group achieving approximately 2 ms shorter gap detection thresholds on the GIN test compared to the non-musician counterparts. These results provide evidence supporting the potential benefits of musical training on temporal processing abilities, which have implications for the processing of speech in degraded listening environments and the enhanced processing of the fine-grained temporal aspects of the speech signal. The results also support the GIN test as an instrument sensitive to temporal processing differences among active musicians and non-musicians.
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