Patrick C. M. Wong's research while affiliated with The University of Hong Kong and other places

Publications (163)

Preprint
Prediction of improvement in speech perception after cochlear implantation (CI) is clinically important to optimize pediatric habilitation. Conventional methods using non-neural measures do not permit accurate prediction on the individual child level. In this study, we investigate whether white matter patterns detected by diffusion tensor imaging (...
Preprint
Importance: Children with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) benefit from binaural amplification provided by hearing aids (HA) to develop auditory skills, language and social abilities. However, few studies have examined the effect of amplification on brain structure in children with SNHL. This study evaluates a group of children with bila...
Article
Full-text available
The Hong Kong Grocery Shopping Dialog Task (HK-GSDT) is a short and easy-to-administer cognitive test developed for quickly screening neurocognitive disorders (NCDs). In the test, participants are instructed to do a hypothetical instrumental activity of daily living task of purchasing ingredients for a dish from a grocery store and verbally describ...
Article
The ability to map similar sounding words to different meanings alone is far from enough for successful speech processing. To overcome variability in the speech signal, young learners must also recognize words across surface variations. Previous studies have shown that infants at 14 months are able to use variations in word-internal cues (i.e., aco...
Article
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Differences in visual attention have been documented in ASD, and appear linked to clinical symptoms. However, most research has been conducted in Western cultures. Because striking differences in visual attention patterns have been documented in other cultures, it is important to understand how culture may influence attentional patterns in ASD. Thi...
Article
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What explains parental English word reading and mathematics performance? The present study examined whether parent-, family-, and child-related variables explain parents’ English word reading and mathematics performances among two groups of Asian parents. The data were collected from 152 Hong Kong and 280 Cebu City (Philippines) parents who learn E...
Article
The acoustic properties of infant-directed speech (IDS) have been widely studied, but whether and how young learners’ language development benefits from individual properties remains to be confirmed. This study investigated whether toddlers’ word processing was affected by tone hyperarticulation in the IDS of a tone language. Nineteen- and 23-month...
Article
Differences in speech prosody are a widely observed feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, it is unclear how prosodic differences in ASD manifest across different languages that demonstrate cross-linguistic variability in prosody. Using a supervised machine-learning analytic approach, we examined acoustic features relevant to rhythmic...
Article
Some prior investigations suggest that tone perception is flexible, reasonably independent of native phonology, whereas others suggest it is constrained by native phonology. We address this issue in a systematic and comprehensive investigation of adult tone perception. Sampling from diverse tone and non-tone speaking communities, we tested discrimi...
Article
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Semantic processing (SP) is one of the critical abilities of humans for representing and manipulating conceptual and meaningful information. Neuroimaging studies of SP typically collapse data from many subjects, but its neural organization and behavioral performance vary between individuals. It is not yet understood whether and how the individual v...
Article
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Significance Are we all imagining the same thing when we listen to music, or are our experiences hopelessly subjective? This research analyzes the similarity of responses from 622 participants in three locations on a highly unconstrained task: free-response descriptions of the stories they imagined while listening to instrumental music. Strikingly,...
Article
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Research over the past two decades has identified a group of common genetic variants explaining a portion of variance in native language ability. The present study investigates whether the same group of genetic variants are associated with different languages and languages learned at different times in life. We recruited 940 young adults who spoke...
Article
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Atypical pitch processing is a feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which affects non-tone language speakers’ communication. Lifelong auditory experience has been demonstrated to modify genetically-predisposed risks for pitch processing. We examined individuals with ASD to test the hypothesis that lifelong auditory experience in tone language...
Article
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The question of why native and foreign languages are learned with a large performance gap has prompted language researchers to hypothesize that they are subserved by fundamentally different mechanisms. However, this hypothesis may not have taken into account that these languages can be learned under different conditions (e.g., naturalistic vs. clas...
Article
Human language learning differs significantly across individuals in the process and ultimate attainment. Although decades of research exploring the neural substrates of language learning have identified distinct and overlapping neural networks subserving learning of different components, the neural mechanisms that drive the large inter-individual d...
Article
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Despite the multidimensional and temporally fleeting nature of auditory signals we quickly learn to assign novel sounds to behaviorally relevant categories. The neural systems underlying the learning and representation of novel auditory categories are far from understood. Current models argue for a rigid specialization of hierarchically organized c...
Article
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Purpose This study aimed to construct an objective and cost-effective prognostic tool to forecast the future language and communication abilities of individual infants. Method Speech-evoked electroencephalography (EEG) data were collected from 118 infants during the first year of life during the exposure to speech stimuli that differed principally...
Article
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We investigated the development of early-latency and long-latency brain responses to native and non-native speech to shed light on the neurophysiological underpinnings of perceptual narrowing and early language development. Specifically, we postulated a two-level process to explain the decrease in sensitivity to non-native phonemes towards the end...
Article
Music has attracted longstanding debate surrounding its capacity to communicate without words, but little empirical work has addressed the topic. Here, 534 participants in the US and a remote region of China participated in two experiments using a novel paradigm to investigate narrative perceptions as a semantic dimension of music. Participants lis...
Article
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Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their first-degree relatives demonstrate automaticity deficits reflected in reduced eye-voice coordination during rapid automatized naming (RAN), suggesting that RAN deficits may be a genetically meaningful marker of ASD language-related impairments. This study investigated whether RAN deficits in...
Article
Although people across multiple cultures have been shown to experience music narratively, it has proven difficult to disentangle whether narrative dimensions of music derive from learned extramusical associations within a culture or from less experience-dependent elements of the music, such as musical contrast. Toward this end, two experiments inve...
Preprint
Full-text available
Semantic processing (SP) is one of the critical abilities of humans for representing and manipulating meaningful and conceptual information. Neuroimaging studies of SP typically collapse data from many subjects, but both its neural organization and behavioral performance vary between individuals. It is not yet understood whether and how the individ...
Article
Full-text available
In the current study, we aimed at understanding the effect of exposure to complex input on speech sound development, by conducting a systematic meta-analysis review of the existing treatment-based studies employing complex input in children with speech sound disorders. In the meta-analysis review, using a list of inclusion criteria, we narrowed 280...
Article
Perceptual adaptation is an active cognitive process where listeners re-analyse speech categories based on new contexts/situations/talkers. It involves top-down influences from higher cortical levels on lower-level auditory processes. Individuals with congenital amusia have impaired pitch processing with reduced connectivity between frontal and tem...
Article
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Learning non-native phonetic categories in adulthood is an exceptionally challenging task, characterized by large inter-individual differences in learning speed and outcomes. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying the inter-individual differences in the learning efficacy are not fully understood. Here we examine the extent to which training-indu...
Article
The functions of acoustic-phonetic modifications in infant-directed speech (IDS) remain a question: do they specifically serve to facilitate language learning via enhanced phonemic contrasts (the hyperarticulation hypothesis) or primarily to improve communication via prosodic exaggeration (the prosodic hypothesis)? The study of lexical tones provid...
Preprint
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Current models of auditory category learning argue for a rigid specialization of hierarchically organized regions that are fine-tuned to extracting and mapping acoustic dimensions to categories. We test a competing hypothesis: the neural dynamics of emerging auditory representations are driven by category structures and learning strategies. We desi...
Article
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Hand function improvement in stroke survivors in the chronic stage usually plateaus by 6 months. Brain-computer interface (BCI)-guided robot-assisted training has been shown to be effective for facilitating upper-limb motor function recovery in chronic stroke. However, the underlying neuroplasticity change is not well understood. This study aimed t...
Article
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Absolute pitch (AP), a unique ability to name or produce pitch without any reference, is known to be influenced by genetic and cultural factors. AP and tone language experience are both known to promote lexical tone perception. However, the effects of the combination of AP and tone language experience on lexical tone perception are currently not kn...
Article
Many studies have reported a musical advantage in perceiving lexical tones among non-native listeners, but it is unclear whether this advantage also applies to native listeners, who are likely to show ceiling-like performance and thus mask any potential musical advantage. The ongoing tone merging phenomenon in Hong Kong Cantonese provides a unique...
Article
A form‐preparation task in the language production field was adopted to examine output phonological representations in Chinese dyslexia and their susceptibility to training. Forty‐one Chinese children with dyslexia (7‐11 years old) and thirty‐six chronological age controls completed this task. The controls demonstrated a marginally significant syll...
Article
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Successful categorization requires listeners to represent the incoming sensory information, resolve the “blooming, buzzing confusion” (James 1890, page 462) inherent to noisy sensory signals, and leverage the accumulated evidence towards making a decision. Despite decades of intense debate, the neural systems underlying speech categorization remain...
Chapter
It is now well established that second language learning training results in large individual variation in learning outcomes. Native English speakers learning the lexical tones of Mandarin Chinese are no exception (e.g., Wang et al., 1999). In this chapter, we review a series of studies undertaken by our group investigating both the sources of indi...
Chapter
A reliable diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is difficult to make until after toddlerhood. Detection in an earlier age enables early intervention, which is typically more effective. Recent studies of the development of brain and behavior in infants and toddlers have provided important insights in the diagnosis of autism. This extensive re...
Article
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How language has evolved into more than 7000 varieties today remains a question that puzzles linguists, anthropologists, and evolutionary scientists. The genetic-biasing hypothesis of language evolution postulates that genes and language features coevolve, such that a population that is genetically predisposed to perceiving a particular linguistic...
Poster
Cross-cultural differences in visual attention are important to evaluate as a source of variability in ASD, related to clinical features. Reduced social attention and increased local processing styles have been observed in ASD in Western cultures. Typically developing individuals from Eastern cultures often show attentional bias toward more global...
Article
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Instrumental music can seem to tell engrossing stories without the use of words, but it is unclear what leads to this narrativization. Although past work has investigated narrative responses to abstract moving shapes, very little work has studied the emergence of narrative perceptions in response to nonlinguistic sound. We measured narrative respon...
Article
Purpose We report a preliminary study that prospectively tests the potential cognitive enhancing effect of foreign language (FL) learning in older adults with no clear signs of cognitive decline beyond what is age typical. Because language learning engages a large brain network that overlaps with the network of cognitive aging, we hypothesized that...
Poster
Full-text available
Introduction A functioning auditory system is a prerequisite to spoken language development. It emerges as an interaction between subcortical and cortical brain structures, which show different maturation rates (Moore, 2007). In the first year of life, exposure to native language drives sensitization to native phonemes and desensitization to nonnat...
Article
Traditionally, learning is assumed to take place with exposure to simpler elements first followed by exposure to elements with increasing levels of difficulty. Recent reports suggest that exposure to complex elements leads to more widespread changes. However, whether learning via exposure to complex or to simple elements is more beneficial is a mat...
Article
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Speech processing is highly modulated by context. Prior studies examining frequency-following responses (FFRs), an electrophysiological ‘neurophonic’ potential that faithfully reflects phase-locked activity from neural ensembles within the auditory network, have demonstrated that stimulus context modulates the integrity of speech encoding. The exte...
Article
Musical experience and linguistic experience have been shown to facilitate language and music perception. However, the precise nature of music and language interaction is still a subject of ongoing research. In this study, using subcortical electrophysiological measures (frequency following response), we seek to understand the effect of interaction...
Article
In second language acquisition studies, the high talker variability training approach has been frequently used to train participants to learn new speech patterns. However, the neuroplasticity induced by training is poorly understood. In the present study, native English speakers were trained on non-native pitch patterns (linguistic tones from Manda...
Article
Full-text available
Significance The ability to accurately predict speech improvement for young children who use cochlear implants (CIs) would be a first step in the development of a personalized therapy to enhance language development. Despite decades of outcome research, no useful clinical prediction tool exists. An accurate predictive model that relies on routinely...
Article
Full-text available
Emotional communication in music depends on multiple attributes including psychoacoustic features and tonal system information, the latter of which is unique to music. The present study investigated whether congenital amusia, a lifelong disorder of musical processing, impacts sensitivity to musical emotion elicited by timbre and tonal system inform...
Article
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Amusia is a pitch perception disorder associated with deficits in processing and production of both musical and lexical tones, which previous reports have suggested may be constrained to fine-grained pitch judgements. In the present study speakers of tone-languages, in which lexical tones are used to convey meaning, identified words present in chim...
Article
A significant neural challenge in speech perception includes extracting discrete phonetic categories from continuous and multidimensional signals despite varying task demands and surface acoustic variability. While neural representations of speech categories have been previously identified in frontal and posterior temporal-parietal regions, the tas...
Conference Paper
The goal of our present study is to examine subject-internal factors that may contribute to foreign language acquisition. We do so by capitalizing on a large number of learners (reporting 500+ subjects here) of a relatively homogenous background (native speakers of Cantonese with high English language proficiency) who are learning different third l...
Article
Full-text available
Though there is an extensive literature investigating the ability of younger adults to learn non-native phonology, including investigations into individual differences in younger adults’ lexical tone learning, very little is known about older adults’ ability to learn non-native phonology, including lexical tone. There are several reasons to suspect...
Article
CONGENITAL AMUSIA IS A LIFELONG DISORDER OF musical processing for which no effective treatments have been found. The present study aimed to treat amusics' impairments in pitch direction identification through auditory training. Prior to training, twenty Chinese-speaking amusics and 20 matched controls were tested on the Montreal Battery of Evaluat...
Article
Full-text available
Across time, languages undergo changes in phonetic, syntactic and semantic dimensions. Social, cognitive and cultural factors contribute to sound change, a phenomenon in which the phonetics of a language undergo changes over time. Individuals who misperceive and produce speech in a slightly divergent manner (called innovators) contribute to variabi...
Article
Variability in drug responsivity has prompted the development of Personalized Medicine, which has shown great promise in utilizing genotypic information to develop safer and more effective drug regimens for patients. Similarly, individual variability in learning outcomes has puzzled researchers who seek to create optimal learning environments for s...
Chapter
Researchers have identified speech perception training paradigms that hold potential for training CI users. However, there is extensive outcome variability, likely because some learners have a greater initial ability to perceive the acoustic differences among the to-be-learned speech sounds. For those listeners without such ability, simplifying the...
Book
N.M. Young, K. Iler Kirk (Eds.) Pediatric Cochlear Implantation ▶ Educates clinicians in the field of pediatric cochlear im-plantation as to the current and emerging best practices ▶ Expands upon the current literature regarding the role of cognition and executive function in pediatric cochlear implant outcomes ▶ Aimed at neurotologists and pediatr...
Data
Grammar learning data, subject codes, and measures of declarative, procedural, and working memory for Experiment 3. (SAV)
Data
Grammar learning data, subject codes, and measures of declarative, procedural, and working memory for Experiment 1. (SAV)
Article
Full-text available
Although there is variability in nonnative grammar learning outcomes, the contributions of training paradigm design and memory subsystems are not well understood. To examine this, we presented learners with an artificial grammar that formed words via simple and complex morphophonological rules. Across three experiments, we manipulated training para...
Data
Grammar learning data, subject codes, and measures of declarative, procedural, and working memory for Experiment 2. (SAV)
Article
This study investigated pitch perception and production in speech and music in individuals with congenital amusia (a disorder of musical pitch processing) who are native speakers of Cantonese, a tone language with a highly complex tonal system. Sixteen Cantonese-speaking congenital amusics and 16 controls performed a set of lexical tone perception,...
Article
Recent advances in human neuroimaging have shown that it is possible to accurately decode how the brain perceives information based only on non-invasive functional magnetic resonance imaging measurements of brain activity. Two commonly used statistical approaches, namely, univariate analysis and multivariate pattern analysis often lead to distinct...
Article
Full-text available
Learning to distinguish nonnative words that differ in a critical phonetic feature can be difficult. Speech training studies typically employ methods that explicitly direct the learner's attention to the relevant nonnative feature to be learned. However, studies on vision have demonstrated that perceptual learning may occur implicitly, by expo...
Article
A major challenge in language learning studies is to identify objective, pre-training predictors of success. Variation in the low-frequency fluctuations (LFFs) of spontaneous brain activity measured by resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) has been found to reflect individual differences in cognitive measures. In the present...
Article
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The mechanisms that allow for both language-specific and universal constraints in language development are not fully understood. According to the rhythm detection hypothesis, sensitivity to rhythm is the underlying mechanism that is fundamental to language development. Support from a number of Western languages, as well as Mandarin, has led to the...
Article
Numerous factors are thought to be advantageous for non-native language learning although they are typically investigated in isolation, and the interaction between them is not understood. Firstly, bilinguals are claimed to acquire a third language easier than monolinguals acquire a second. Secondly, closely related languages may be easier to learn....
Article
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Speech training paradigms aim to maximise learning outcomes by manipulating external factors such as talker variability. However, not all individuals may benefit from such manipulations because subject-external factors interact with subject-internal ones (e.g., aptitude) to determine speech perception and/or learning success. In a previous tone lea...
Article
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Artificial language learning (ALL) experiments have become an important tool in exploring principles of language and language learning. A persistent question in all of this work, however, is whether ALL engages the linguistic system and whether ALL studies are ecologically valid assessments of natural language ability. In the present study, we cons...
Article
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Working memory capacity has been linked to performance on many higher cognitive tasks, including the ability to perceive speech in noise. Current efforts to train working memory have demonstrated that working memory performance can be improved, suggesting that working memory training may lead to improved speech perception in noise. A further advant...
Article
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The current study aims to make an initial neuroimaging contribution to central implicit-explicit issues in second language (L2) acquisition by considering how implicit and explicit contexts mediate the neural representation of L2. Focusing on implicit contexts, the study employs a longitudinal design to examine the neural representation of L2 synta...
Article
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This study systematically examines the role of intensified exposure to a second language on accommodating talker variability. English native listeners (n = 37) were compared to Mandarin listeners who had either lived in the United States for an extended period of time (n = 33) or had only lived in China (n = 44). Listeners responded to target words...