Can Children With SLI Detect Cognitive Conflict? Behavioral and Electrophysiological Evidence Purpose This study examined whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) are deficient in detecting cognitive conflict between competing response tendencies in a GO/No-GO task. Method Twelve children with SLI (ages 10–12), 22 children with typical language development matched group-wise on age (TLD-A), and 16 younger children with TLD ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2014
Can Children With SLI Detect Cognitive Conflict? Behavioral and Electrophysiological Evidence
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Baila Epstein
    Brooklyn College of the City University of New York
  • Valerie L. Shafer
    The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
  • Robert D. Melara
    City College of the City University of New York
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
  • 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 Baila Epstein: Epstein@brooklyn.cuny.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Andrew Whitehouse
    Associate Editor: Andrew Whitehouse×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2014
Can Children With SLI Detect Cognitive Conflict? Behavioral and Electrophysiological Evidence
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1453-1467. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0234
History: Received August 26, 2013 , Revised December 14, 2013 , Accepted January 16, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1453-1467. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0234
History: Received August 26, 2013; Revised December 14, 2013; Accepted January 16, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose This study examined whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) are deficient in detecting cognitive conflict between competing response tendencies in a GO/No-GO task.

Method Twelve children with SLI (ages 10–12), 22 children with typical language development matched group-wise on age (TLD-A), and 16 younger children with TLD (ages 8–9) matched group-wise on language skills (TLD-L) were tested using a behavioral GO/No-GO paradigm with simultaneous collection of event-related potentials. The N2 component was used as a neural index of the ability to detect conflict between GO and No-GO response tendencies.

Results Hit rates did not differentiate the 3 groups. The TLD-L children demonstrated the highest false-alarm rates. The N2 component was attenuated and showed delayed divergence of GO and No-GO amplitudes in SLI relative to TLD-A children in response to stimuli presented at various probability levels. The N2 effect in children with SLI resembled that of children with TLD who were approximately 3 years younger.

Conclusions School-age children with SLI exhibit a maturational lag in detecting conflict between competing response alternatives. Deficient conflict detection may in turn hinder these children's ability to resolve conflict among semantic representations that are activated during language processing.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant F31DC-009356 and by a Doctoral Student Research Grant from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York to Baila Epstein. A portion of the data reported here was reported in Baila Epstein's unpublished doctoral dissertation. The authors wish to thank Ada Anaya and Althea Green for their assistance with recruitment and testing of participants.
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