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Auditory streaming and children

Dear List

Is anyone aware of an auditory streaming task that can be sucessfully completed
by school-aged (5-12 year-old) children?

I recently tried a computerised ABA triplet streaming task with (typically
developing) 9 year-olds. The aim was to find the coherence boundary. I gave the
children examples of both the segregated and connected percept with stimuli
from extreme ends of the range (in this case, pitch difference), followed by
practice identifying clear examples of the two percepts. To make the concept of
alternative percepts more accessable to children, percepts were explained to
children in terms of the sounds of animals having a race, or of alien messages.

In the main test, children had to indicate whether they heard the tones as
connected or segreated. I then used a simple adaptive one-up one-down method
for estimating the 50% level of the 2 FC responses.

Except for one child (out of 12), no child was able to do the task. I'm sure
its not becuase 9-year-old auditory systems don't do streaming, but becuase the
task was too hard.

The children did OK on the practice and on catch trials I had inserted in the
main test, but I think they were probably identifying these stimuli on the
basis of other acoustic features rather than in terms of percept.

Does anyone know of a streaming task to which children can respond reliably?

Thank you for your comments

Piers Dawes, Doctoral Student
Department of Experimental Psychology
University of Oxford
Tel: 01865 271374