Gaia Spicciarelli

     Ritratto di Gaia Spicciarelli

Neuroscience, Technology and Society, XXXVII series 

Grant sponsor
DPSS - Università degli Studi di Padova

Barbara Arfè

Antonio Rodà



Project description

It has been stated that noise has a damaging effect on children’s cognitive performance and learning. In order to overcome obstacles when carrying out a listening task, children need to deliberately allocate mental resources, which costs more effort and fatigue. This process, known as listening effort, is important to assess in all children, but especially in those with hearing loss who have cochlear implants or hearing aids. Investigating children’s tasks performance is essential when assessing cognitive effort, but physiological measurements are also needed. Recently, eye pupil dilation has been used as a psychophysiological marker of cognitive effort, and especially listening effort. Different studies have interpreted task-evoked pupil dilations as a reflection of increased listening effort in adults and children. The aim of my PhD project is to assess listening effort in children by combining different measurements in order to have a clear picture of the phenomenon. Moreover, another aim is to train children with games at different SNRs and then evaluate again their listening effort, in order to see if there has been an improvement in dealing with background noise while carrying out cognitive tasks. The hypothesis is that, after the training, children’s WMC and EF will be strengthened, and this will lead children to better allocate their cognitive resources when listening in noisy environments: consequently, tasks performance will improve and listening effort will be reduced.