Simulating SLI General Cognitive Processing Stressors Can Produce a Specific Linguistic Profile Research Article
EDITOR'S AWARD
Research Article  |   December 01, 2004
Simulating SLI
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marianna E. Hayiou-Thomas
    Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
  • Dorothy V. M. Bishop
    University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Kim Plunkett
    University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: m.hayiou-thomas@psychology.york.ac.uk
  • Contact author: Marianna G. Hayiou-Thomas, DPhil, who is now at the Department of Psychology, University of York, York Y010 5DD, United Kingdom.
    Contact author: Marianna G. Hayiou-Thomas, DPhil, who is now at the Department of Psychology, University of York, York Y010 5DD, United Kingdom.×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2004
Simulating SLI
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2004, Vol. 47, 1347-1362. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/101)
History: Received August 1, 2003 , Accepted April 18, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2004, Vol. 47, 1347-1362. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/101)
History: Received August 1, 2003; Accepted April 18, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 31

This study attempted to model specific language impairment (SLI) in a group of 6-year-old children with typically developing language by introducing cognitive stress factors into a grammaticality judgment task. At normal speech rate, all children had near-perfect performance. When the speech signal was compressed to 50% of its original rate, to simulate reduced speed of processing, children displayed the same pattern of errors that is reported in SLI: good performance on noun morphology (plural -s) and very poor performance on verb morphology (past tense -ed and 3rd-person singular -s). A similar pattern was found when memory load was increased by adding redundant verbiage to sentence stimuli. The finding that an SLI-like pattern of performance can be induced in children with intact linguistic systems by increasing cognitive processing demands supports the idea that a processing deficit may underlie the profile of language difficulty that characterizes SLI.

Acknowledgments
The study presented in this article was carried out as part of Marianna E. Hayiou-Thomas’s doctoral research at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, supervised by Dorothy V. M. Bishop and Kim Plunkett. Thanks are extended to the children who participated in the study, as well as to their parents and schools.
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