Children's Comprehension of Object Relative Sentences: It's Extant Language Knowledge That Matters, Not Domain-General Working Memory Purpose The aim of this study was to determine whether extant language (lexical) knowledge or domain-general working memory is the better predictor of comprehension of object relative sentences for children with typical development. We hypothesized that extant language knowledge, not domain-general working memory, is the better predictor. Method ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   September 15, 2017
Children's Comprehension of Object Relative Sentences: It's Extant Language Knowledge That Matters, Not Domain-General Working Memory
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yazmin Ahmad Rusli
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Ohio University, Athens
  • James W. Montgomery
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Ohio University, Athens
  • 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 Yazmin Ahmad Rusli: ya826813@ohio.edu
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Lisa Archibald
    Associate Editor: Lisa Archibald×
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   September 15, 2017
Children's Comprehension of Object Relative Sentences: It's Extant Language Knowledge That Matters, Not Domain-General Working Memory
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0422
History: Received November 7, 2016 , Revised February 3, 2017 , Accepted April 4, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0422
History: Received November 7, 2016; Revised February 3, 2017; Accepted April 4, 2017

Purpose The aim of this study was to determine whether extant language (lexical) knowledge or domain-general working memory is the better predictor of comprehension of object relative sentences for children with typical development. We hypothesized that extant language knowledge, not domain-general working memory, is the better predictor.

Method Fifty-three children (ages 9–11 years) completed a word-level verbal working-memory task, indexing extant language (lexical) knowledge; an analog nonverbal working-memory task, representing domain-general working memory; and a hybrid sentence comprehension task incorporating elements of both agent selection and cross-modal picture-priming paradigms. Images of the agent and patient were displayed at the syntactic gap in the object relative sentences, and the children were asked to select the agent of the sentence.

Results Results of general linear modeling revealed that extant language knowledge accounted for a unique 21.3% of variance in the children's object relative sentence comprehension over and above age (8.3%). Domain-general working memory accounted for a nonsignificant 1.6% of variance.

Conclusions We interpret the results to suggest that extant language knowledge and not domain-general working memory is a critically important contributor to children's object relative sentence comprehension. Results support a connectionist view of the association between working memory and object relative sentence comprehension.

Supplemental Materials https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5404573

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by an Ohio University Student Enhancement Award to Yazmin Ahmad Rusli. We would like to thank all those children and their parents who participated in this study.
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