Lisa Sanders investigates auditory selective attention, speech perception, and the ways in which selective attention supports the complex task of comprehending spoken language. Sanders will be developing a grant proposal for a project entitled “Improving Preschooler’s Ability to Predict and Comprehend Speech.” Her project will use behavioral and electrophysiological assessments of 3- to 5-year-old children’s abilities to study a language’s sound patterns to make predictions about upcoming speech sounds, and to efficiently allocate attention to the least predictable segments in continuous speech. Sanders is interested in how each of these cognitive skills contributes to successful understanding of speech under ideal quiet conditions and in more complex noisy environments. Identifying the obstacles facing 3- to 5-year-old children in understanding spoken language will inform the creation of interventions that target the neural systems involved in language comprehension and improve learning environments for this population. Improved language skill in young children is expected to support success of individual children and their families.
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