Statistical learning in children with specific language impairment.

TitleStatistical learning in children with specific language impairment.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsEvans JL, Saffran JR, Robe-Torres K
JournalJ Speech Lang Hear Res
Volume52
Issue2
Pagination321-35
Date Published2009 Apr
ISSN1092-4388
KeywordsAdolescent, Child, Humans, Language Disorders, Learning, Probability, Psycholinguistics, Speech
Abstract

PURPOSE: In this study, the authors examined (a) whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) can implicitly compute the probabilities of adjacent sound sequences, (b) if this ability is related to degree of exposure, (c) if it is domain specific or domain general and, (d) if it is related to vocabulary.

METHOD: Children with SLI and normal language controls (ages 6;5-14;4 [years;months]) listened to 21 min of a language in which transitional probabilities within words were higher than those between words. In a second study, children with SLI and Age-Nonverbal IQ matched controls (8;0-10;11) listened to the same language for 42 min and to a second 42 min "tone" language containing the identical statistical structure as the "speech" language.

RESULTS: After 21 min, the SLI group's performance was at chance, whereas performance for the control group was significantly greater than chance and significantly correlated with receptive and expressive vocabulary knowledge. In the 42-minute speech condition, the SLI group's performance was significantly greater than chance and correlated with receptive vocabulary but was no different from chance in the analogous 42-minute tone condition. Performance for the control group was again significantly greater than chance in 42-minute speech and tone conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that poor implicit learning may underlie aspects of the language impairments in SLI.

DOI10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0189)
Alternate JournalJ. Speech Lang. Hear. Res.
PubMed ID19339700
PubMed Central IDPMC3864761
Grant ListP30 HD003352 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD037466 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P30HD03352 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01HD37466 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 DC005650-08 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States
R01 DC005650 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States
R0105263 / / PHS HHS / United States