Research study at UCL - can you help?

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KatM
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04 Aug 2009, 1:17 pm

Hi everyone,

I’m a PhD student at UCL in London and I’m looking for people to take part in a new research study. Alex and the moderators have approved this posting, and I hope some of you may be able to help me.

There’s growing evidence that when people with Asperger’s syndrome are in noisy places, like stations or restaurants, they may have more difficulty than neurotypicals in understanding what people are saying to them. Problems like this with listening to speech in background noise can sometimes be quite upsetting, and I’m investigating possible causes. One potential factor is that people with AS might actually ‘hear’ some aspects of sound better than the rest of the population.

I’m looking for adults (18-50 years old), who live within reasonable travelling distance of London, and who have been given a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome by a psychiatrist, psychologist or other health professional. My experiment involves people coming to the UCL lab and doing a number of simple, non-invasive, computerised tests - mainly listening to spoken sentences played through headphones. Most people find these tasks quite fun and interesting to do, and I can refund travel expenses within reason. My study has been fully approved by the UCL Research Ethics Committee.

If you think you might like to take part, please email me – [email protected]. I’d be really, really grateful for your help.

All the best,
Katharine

***********************************
UCL Speech, Hearing & Phonetic Sciences
[email protected]



Nan
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04 Aug 2009, 1:38 pm

Good luck! If I was in the UK I'd volunteer. As a younger person I could hear the hypersonic alarms they used in department stores, particularly near the jewelry counters. (It almost hurt, too!) Crowds are just awful. As is having a TV on in the same room and trying to carry on a conversation.... Would love to get to see your results.



KatM
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04 Aug 2009, 2:17 pm

Thanks for the encouragement, Nan. It's always really interesting to hear about people's experiences even if you can't help out. One reason I got excited about this topic was because of an experience I had with a friend of mine who has AS. We were meeting with people for a post-exam drink at college, but we literally couldn't find a pub quiet enough for him to be able to join in the conversation. I could see how stressful he was finding it, and since then I've been really interested in how auditory perception works for people with ASDs. As well as being able to hear sounds other people dont' register, there's quite a lot of research into the idea that ASDs could be associated with enhanced perception of musical pitch. Perfect pitch is much more prevalent in people on the autism spectrum than in the general population. I wonder if you're musical?

It's going to be a while before I have a full set of results from my study, but if people are interested I'll post a short update when it's finished.

Thanks again,
Kat



Aoi
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04 Aug 2009, 4:11 pm

I'd be fascinated to participate in this study, but I live in Seattle, USA, so do not fit the geographic criteria. I've had this "listening" problem all my life, and have asked others in restaurants, airport arrival/departure lounges, and other places what they can hear. I am also not subject to the "cocktail party effect", wherein I'm apparently supposed to be able to hear my name from afar even in a noisy environment with multiple conversations underway.

I look forward to updates on your work and the final results.



Nan
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04 Aug 2009, 5:31 pm

KatM wrote:
Thanks for the encouragement, Nan. It's always really interesting to hear about people's experiences even if you can't help out. One reason I got excited about this topic was because of an experience I had with a friend of mine who has AS. We were meeting with people for a post-exam drink at college, but we literally couldn't find a pub quiet enough for him to be able to join in the conversation. I could see how stressful he was finding it, and since then I've been really interested in how auditory perception works for people with ASDs. As well as being able to hear sounds other people dont' register, there's quite a lot of research into the idea that ASDs could be associated with enhanced perception of musical pitch. Perfect pitch is much more prevalent in people on the autism spectrum than in the general population. I wonder if you're musical?

It's going to be a while before I have a full set of results from my study, but if people are interested I'll post a short update when it's finished.

Thanks again,
Kat



I was going to be a concert musician when I was younger (but things fiscal interfered!). I can't sing a note, but can match pitches on two tone-generators to an almost perfect level "by ear." It runs in the family. As do austism spectrum disorders. The ones of us, actually, that are not musical seem to be NT, and tend to be quite athletic.

Good luck.



makuranososhi
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04 Aug 2009, 7:35 pm

Request and post approved by Alex and WP.


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Kirsty_84
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05 Aug 2009, 4:45 am

Sounds fascinating! And I have terrible problems in public places, train stations are the worst - I can't hear announcements at all in busy stations, especially those with metal roofs (the sound bounces around). Plus marquees are weird too, peoples' voices echo strangely ...

Anyway, I am in the UK, but in Yorkshire and that's a fair distance to travel (and I don't think I could handle London - too busy!)

Good luck with your research :)



dfgh
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05 Aug 2009, 4:47 pm

Sounds interesting. I would like to take part but I am about to go on holiday so I will have a think.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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05 Aug 2009, 4:56 pm

KatM wrote:
It's going to be a while before I have a full set of results from my study, but if people are interested I'll post a short update when it's finished.


Please do! I cannot interpret speech in a 'normally' noisy restaurant at all. Sometimes I even can't speak properly (sort of end up stuttering) due to noise.