Frequency Discrimination Deficits in People With Specific Language Impairment Reliability, Validity, and Linguistic Correlates Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2004
Frequency Discrimination Deficits in People With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • G. M. McArthur
    University of Oxford, Oxford, England
  • D. V. M. Bishop
    University of Oxford, Oxford, England
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: gmcarthu@maccs.mq.edu.au
  • G. M. McArthur, PhD, Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia. E-mail: gmcarthu@maccs.mq.edu.au
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2004
Frequency Discrimination Deficits in People With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 527-541. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/041)
History: Received February 24, 2003 , Accepted January 5, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 527-541. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/041)
History: Received February 24, 2003; Accepted January 5, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 48

The reliability and validity of a frequency discrimination (FD) task were tested in 16 people with specific language impairment (SLI) and 16 people with normal spoken language (controls). The FD thresholds of the 2 groups indicated that FD thresholds for 25-ms and 250-ms tones were remarkably stable across 18 months. The FD thresholds were lower for control listeners than for listeners with SLI for both duration conditions, and the FD thresholds for both groups of listeners were lower for 250-ms tones than for 25-ms tones. Moreover, the FD thresholds were influenced little by nonperceptual, task-related abilities (e.g., paired-associative learning, memory for temporal order, sustained attention, and control of attention) of the listener groups. The significant group difference between the mean FD thresholds of the SLI and control groups was explained by a subgroup of people with SLI who had particularly poor thresholds compared with those of controls and the majority of the SLI group. This subgroup did not differ from the remainder of the SLI sample in terms of age or nonverbal ability but was characterized by very poor reading that was associated with poor phonemic awareness.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by the Wellcome Trust. We thank all our volunteers and their parents for their unstinting contributions to this research. We also thank Faith Ayre for coordinating our volunteers and Paul Sutcliffe for his help with the data collection.
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