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Listening effort allocation, stimulus-driven, goal-driven, or both?

Zhang, Min (2017) Listening effort allocation, stimulus-driven, goal-driven, or both? Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The research in audiology to date about how people listen has been focused too narrowly on the impact of the task demand (e.g., speech complexity) on the effort exerted for listening. Very few studies conducted on how intention associated factors affect listening effort regulation, and little is known about how to characterize the individual quality of effort expenditure in terms of efficiency. This study primarily aimed to fill the gap by testing a compensatory control model for effort regulation, specifically, to investigate how reward would modulate the effect of task demand on listening effort. The secondary aim was to propose a modified computational approach for effort efficiency calculation.
The nonclinical sample was comprised of 40 college volunteer participants with normal hearing. All participants completed the Need for Cognition scale, a speech comprehension task which required a cost-benefit decision making, and a self-report strategy use survey. The pupil dilation was measured throughout the speech comprehension task as the indicator of listening effort. Results supported the model in that effort regulation during an intended activity is determined not only by stimulus-driven factors such as task demand, but also by goal-driven factors such as reward. Significant interaction effects emerged. Furthermore, the effort efficiency derived by using goal-oriented performance variables demonstrated the superiority of distinguishing individuals compared to the use of mere performance accuracy.
This study contributes to the limited literature available on proactive listening effort regulation. Examining further how hearing, cognitions, and personality interact neurophysiologically and functionally in normal hearing and hearing impaired populations can help clinicians and researchers better understand the underlying mechanism of listening effort control, and facilitate implementing strategies to aid effective listening through audiologic interventions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Zhang, Minmiz18@pitt.edumiz18
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPalmer, Catherinepalmercv@upmc.educvp
Committee MemberDickey, Michaelmdickey@pitt.edumdickey
Committee MemberMcneil, Malcolmmcneil@pitt.edumcneil
Committee MemberPratt, Sheilaspratt@pitt.eduspratt
Committee MemberPerfetti, Charlesperfetti@pitt.eduperfetti
Committee MemberSiegle, Greggsiegle@pitt.edugsiegle
Date: 11 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 July 2017
Approval Date: 11 September 2017
Submission Date: 19 June 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 218
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Listening effort, reward, effort allocation, strategy
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2017 15:10
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2017 15:10


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