Neural measures of a Japanese consonant length discrimination by Japanese and American English listeners: Effects of attention

Miwako Hisagi, Valerie L. Shafer, Winifred Strange, Elyse S. Sussman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


This study examined automaticity of discrimination of a Japanese length contrast for consonants (mi∫i vs. mi∫∫i) in native (Japanese) and non-native (American-English) listeners using behavioral measures and the event-related potential (ERP) mismatch negativity (MMN). Attention to the auditory input was manipulated either away from the auditory input via a visual oddball task (Visual Attend), or to the input by asking the listeners to count auditory deviants (Auditory Attend). Results showed a larger MMN when attention was focused on the consonant contrast than away from it for both groups. The MMN was larger for consonant duration increments than decrements. No difference in MMN between the language groups was observed, but the Japanese listeners did show better behavioral discrimination than the American English listeners. In addition, behavioral responses showed a weak, but significant correlation with MMN amplitude. These findings suggest that both acoustic-phonetic properties and phonological experience affects automaticity of speech processing. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Prediction and Attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-231
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 11 2015



  • Attention
  • Consonants
  • Cross-linguistic
  • Japanese temporal-cues
  • Mismatch Negativity (MMN)
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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