An Initial Investigation of the Neural Correlates of Word Processing in Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment Purpose Previous behavioral studies have found deficits in lexical–semantic abilities in children with specific language impairment (SLI), including reduced depth and breadth of word knowledge. This study explored the neural correlates of early emerging familiar word processing in preschoolers with SLI and typical development. Method Fifteen preschoolers with ... Research Note
Research Note  |   March 15, 2018
An Initial Investigation of the Neural Correlates of Word Processing in Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Eileen Haebig
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Laurence Leonard
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Evan Usler
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Patricia Deevy
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Christine Weber
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • 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 Eileen Haebig: ehaebig1@lsu.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Lisa Archibald
    Editor: Lisa Archibald×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Note
Research Note   |   March 15, 2018
An Initial Investigation of the Neural Correlates of Word Processing in Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 729-739. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0249
History: Received June 26, 2017 , Revised October 4, 2017 , Accepted November 21, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 729-739. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0249
History: Received June 26, 2017; Revised October 4, 2017; Accepted November 21, 2017

Purpose Previous behavioral studies have found deficits in lexical–semantic abilities in children with specific language impairment (SLI), including reduced depth and breadth of word knowledge. This study explored the neural correlates of early emerging familiar word processing in preschoolers with SLI and typical development.

Method Fifteen preschoolers with typical development and 15 preschoolers with SLI were presented with pictures followed after a brief delay by an auditory label that did or did not match. Event-related brain potentials were time locked to the onset of the auditory labels. Children provided verbal judgments of whether the label matched the picture.

Results There were no group differences in the accuracy of identifying when pictures and labels matched or mismatched. Event-related brain potential data revealed that mismatch trials elicited a robust N400 in both groups, with no group differences in mean amplitude or peak latency. However, the typically developing group demonstrated a more robust late positive component, elicited by mismatch trials.

Conclusions These initial findings indicate that lexical–semantic access of early acquired words, indexed by the N400, does not differ between preschoolers with SLI and typical development when highly familiar words are presented in isolation. However, the typically developing group demonstrated a more mature profile of postlexical reanalysis and integration, indexed by an emerging late positive component. The findings lay the necessary groundwork for better understanding processing of newly learned words in children with SLI.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R01-DC014708 and T32-DC00030 granted to L. Leonard). The authors thank the families that participated in this study. Also, the authors thank Jen Schumaker, Katie Gerwin, Connor Slavich, and Gina Catania for help with data collection and data processing.
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