Electrophysiological Indices of Discrimination of Long-Duration, Phonetically Similar Vowels in Children With Typical and Atypical Language Development PurposeThe authors investigated the neurophysiological bases of vowel perception in children with specific language impairment (SLI) compared with typical language development (TLD) controls using 250-ms phonetically similar vowels. In a previous study, children with SLI showed a poor neurophysiological response (the mismatch negativity [MMN]) to 50-ms versions of these vowels, ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2010
Electrophysiological Indices of Discrimination of Long-Duration, Phonetically Similar Vowels in Children With Typical and Atypical Language Development
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Hia Datta
    City University of New York, New York, NY
  • Valerie L. Shafer
    City University of New York, New York, NY
  • Mara L. Morr
    City University of New York, New York, NY
  • Diane Kurtzberg
    Yeshiva University, New York, NY
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    City University of New York
  • Contact author: Hia Datta, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016. E-mail: hdatta@gc.cuny.edu.
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   June 01, 2010
Electrophysiological Indices of Discrimination of Long-Duration, Phonetically Similar Vowels in Children With Typical and Atypical Language Development
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 757-777. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0123)
History: Received June 10, 2008 , Revised November 30, 2008 , Accepted September 22, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 757-777. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0123)
History: Received June 10, 2008; Revised November 30, 2008; Accepted September 22, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 27

PurposeThe authors investigated the neurophysiological bases of vowel perception in children with specific language impairment (SLI) compared with typical language development (TLD) controls using 250-ms phonetically similar vowels. In a previous study, children with SLI showed a poor neurophysiological response (the mismatch negativity [MMN]) to 50-ms versions of these vowels, regardless of whether attention was directed to (attend) or away (passive) from the auditory modality (V. Shafer, M. Morr, H. Datta, D. Kurtzberg, & R. Schwartz, 2005). They hypothesized that longer vowels would allow for improved speech perception.

MethodBrain responses were elicited to the vowel contrast in 2 conditions: (a) attend and (b) passive. Behavioral discrimination and identification responses were also examined.

ResultsBoth SLI and TLD groups showed evidence of discrimination (MMN) of the vowels in the attend and passive conditions. Only subtle differences in the scalp topography of a late negative (LN) brain component were observed between groups. The SLI compared with the TLD group showed significantly poorer identification of these long vowels, as found previously with the shorter vowels.

ConclusionsIncreased vowel duration can improve discrimination in children with SLI. However, poor identification of these longer vowels by some children with SLI suggests a deficit in long-term phonological representations or accessing these representations.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants DC00223 to the fourth author, DC003885 to the fifth author, and HD46193 to the second author. We would like to thank Francis Scheffler for recruiting the children and providing the language test scores and Kristen Maul for collecting part of the data. The data were collected at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Diane Kurtzberg’s laboratory.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access