Processing Binding Relations in Specific Language Impairment Purpose This sentence processing experiment examined the abilities of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and children with typical language development (TD) to establish relations between pronouns or reflexives and their antecedents in real time. Method Twenty-two children with SLI and 24 age-matched children with TD (7;3–10;11 [years;months]) ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2016
Processing Binding Relations in Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Arild Hestvik
    Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware, Newark
  • Liat Seiger-Gardner
    The Graduate Center, City University of New York
    Speech-Language-Hearing Science, Lehman College, Bronx, NY
  • Diana Almodovar
    Speech-Language-Hearing Science, Lehman College, Bronx, 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 Richard G. Schwartz: rschwartz@gc.cuny.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Lizbeth Finestack
    Associate Editor: Lizbeth Finestack×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2016
Processing Binding Relations in Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2016, Vol. 59, 1384-1394. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0107
History: Received March 18, 2015 , Revised August 27, 2015 , Accepted February 5, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2016, Vol. 59, 1384-1394. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0107
History: Received March 18, 2015; Revised August 27, 2015; Accepted February 5, 2016

Purpose This sentence processing experiment examined the abilities of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and children with typical language development (TD) to establish relations between pronouns or reflexives and their antecedents in real time.

Method Twenty-two children with SLI and 24 age-matched children with TD (7;3–10;11 [years;months]) participated in a cross-modal picture priming experiment to determine whether they selectively activated the correct referent at the pronoun or reflexive in sentences. Triplets of auditory sentences, identical except for the presence of a pronoun, a reflexive, or a noun phrase along with a picture probe were used.

Results The children with TD were slightly more accurate in their animacy judgments of pictures, but the groups exhibited the same reaction time (RT) pattern. Both groups were slower for sentences with pronouns than with reflexives or noun phrases. The children with SLI had longer RTs than their peers with TD.

Conclusions Children with SLI activated only the appropriate antecedent at the pronoun or reflexive, reflecting intact core knowledge of binding as was true for their TD peers. The overall slower RT for children with SLI suggests that any deficit may be the result of processing deficits, perhaps attributable to interference effects.

Acknowledgments
Grants RO1DC003885 and R01DC011041 from the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders supported the reported research and the article preparation. The authors extend their appreciation to Stacy Asay, who played a significant role in participant recruitment and data collection. We also acknowledge the contributions of Dr. David A. Swinney to our studies of language processing in SLI.
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