Control of Auditory Attention in Children With Specific Language Impairment Purpose Children with specific language impairment (SLI) appear to demonstrate deficits in attention and its control. Selective attention involves the cognitive control of attention directed toward a relevant stimulus and simultaneous inhibition of attention toward irrelevant stimuli. The current study examined attention control during a cross-modal word recognition task. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2015
Control of Auditory Attention in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kristen R. Victorino
    William Paterson University of New Jersey, Wayne
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    City University of New York, NY
  • 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 Kristen Victorino: victorinok@wpunj.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Thomas Klee
    Associate Editor: Thomas Klee×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2015
Control of Auditory Attention in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1245-1257. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0181
History: Received July 3, 2014 , Revised February 12, 2015 , Accepted May 6, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1245-1257. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0181
History: Received July 3, 2014; Revised February 12, 2015; Accepted May 6, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose Children with specific language impairment (SLI) appear to demonstrate deficits in attention and its control. Selective attention involves the cognitive control of attention directed toward a relevant stimulus and simultaneous inhibition of attention toward irrelevant stimuli. The current study examined attention control during a cross-modal word recognition task.

Method Twenty participants with SLI (ages 9–12 years) and 20 age-matched peers with typical language development (TLD) listened to words through headphones and were instructed to attend to the words in 1 ear while ignoring the words in the other ear. They were simultaneously presented with pictures and asked to make a lexical decision about whether the pictures and auditory words were the same or different. Accuracy and reaction time were measured in 5 conditions, in which the stimulus in the unattended channel was manipulated.

Results The groups performed with similar accuracy. Compared with their peers with TLD, children with SLI had slower reaction times overall and different within-group patterns of performance by condition.

Conclusions Children with TLD showed efficient inhibitory control in conditions that required active suppression of competing stimuli. Participants with SLI had difficulty exerting control over their auditory attention in all conditions, with particular difficulty inhibiting distractors of all types.

Acknowledgments
This research was conducted as Kristen R. Victorino's dissertation under the direction of Richard G. Schwartz. Preparation of this article was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 5RO1 DC5RO1DC01141 to Richard G. Schwartz.
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