THEME SESSION: SENSORY-COGNITIVE INTERACTIONS IN SPEECH COMPREHENSION
To comprehend speech, listeners must separate the information available in the speech signal from auditory interference produced by other concurrent sound sources (auditory scene analysis). Auditory scene analysis depends not only on a number of bottom-up sensory processes involved in signal extraction, but also on a number of knowledge-driven, top-town processes (for example, prior knowledge of the topic of conversation). Hence, how effective listeners will be with respect to the extraction of the relevant information will depend not only on their sensory acuity but also on their command of the language, and the effectiveness of the cognitive processes involved in these top-down processes. In this theme session we will discuss how age-related changes in sensory and cognitive processes alter the manner in which scene analysis is performed, and how the listenerâ€™s command of the language, and the language itself affects a listenerâ€™s ability to comprehend spoken language.