Acquisition of focus by normal hearing and Cochlear Implanted children: The role of musical experience

Ritva Torppa, Andrew Faulkner, Juhani Järvikivi, Martti Vainio, University of Helsinki, Division of Psychology

Two experiments investigated the perception of compound vs. phrasal stress and narrow focus in normally hearing children and children with Cochlear Implants (CI). Additionally, we investigated whether musical experience would predict children’s performance in these tasks. The results showed no difference between CI and normal-hearing children in either experiment. However, whereas we found no clear effect of age in the children’s in stress detection, there was a clear age related trajectory in the ability to recognise (narrow) focus. Moreover, this trend was similar to what has been found previously for English children. Importantly, prior music experience was significantly linked to CI children’s perception of focus.