An Investigation Into Semantic and Phonological Processing in Individuals With Williams Syndrome PurposeThe current study examined semantic and phonological processing in individuals with Williams syndrome (WS). Previous research in language processing in individuals with WS suggests a complex linguistic system characterized by “deviant” semantic organization and differential phonological processing.MethodTwo experiments explored these representations in individuals with WS. The first experiment analyzed the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2014
An Investigation Into Semantic and Phonological Processing in Individuals With Williams Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Cheryl S. Lee
    Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
  • Katherine S. Binder
    Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
  • Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Cheryl S. Lee: cherylee@mtholyoke.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor and Associate Editor: Janna Oetting×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Research Article   |   February 01, 2014
An Investigation Into Semantic and Phonological Processing in Individuals With Williams Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 227-235. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0175)
History: Received June 6, 2012 , Revised November 30, 2012 , Accepted June 3, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 227-235. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0175)
History: Received June 6, 2012; Revised November 30, 2012; Accepted June 3, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

PurposeThe current study examined semantic and phonological processing in individuals with Williams syndrome (WS). Previous research in language processing in individuals with WS suggests a complex linguistic system characterized by “deviant” semantic organization and differential phonological processing.

MethodTwo experiments explored these representations in individuals with WS. The first experiment analyzed the relative typicality and frequency of participants' responses to a semantic and phonological fluency task. The second experiment tapped into online language processing through a semantic priming task and an online sentence reading task measuring the effects of word frequency. Thirteen participants with WS were matched to a group of participants on reading grade level and a group of participants on chronological age.

ResultsThe results of the semantic fluency task, semantic priming task, and word frequency task suggest that semantic organization in individuals with WS appears commensurate with their reading level rather than deviant.

ConclusionsThe pattern of results suggests that individuals with WS do not appear to have deviant semantic organization, while confirming that online tasks that tap into these processes are a promising direction in investigations that include atypically developing populations. These findings for the phonological tasks warrant further research into phonological processing in individuals with WS.

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