Auditory Lexical Decisions in Developmental Language Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Studies Purpose Despite the apparent primacy of syntactic deficits, children with developmental language disorder (DLD) often also evidence lexical impairments. In particular, it has been argued that this population have difficulty forming lexical representations that are detailed enough to support effective spoken word processing. In order to better understand this deficit, ... Review Article
Review Article  |   July 13, 2018
Auditory Lexical Decisions in Developmental Language Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Studies
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Samuel David Jones
    Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • Silke Brandt
    Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • 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 Sam Jones: sam.jones@lancs.ac.uk
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Jan de Jong
    Editor: Jan de Jong×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Language / Review Articles
Review Article   |   July 13, 2018
Auditory Lexical Decisions in Developmental Language Disorder: A Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Studies
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2018, Vol. 61, 1766-1783. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0447
History: Received December 4, 2017 , Revised February 2, 2018 , Accepted March 23, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2018, Vol. 61, 1766-1783. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0447
History: Received December 4, 2017; Revised February 2, 2018; Accepted March 23, 2018

Purpose Despite the apparent primacy of syntactic deficits, children with developmental language disorder (DLD) often also evidence lexical impairments. In particular, it has been argued that this population have difficulty forming lexical representations that are detailed enough to support effective spoken word processing. In order to better understand this deficit, a meta-analysis of studies testing children with DLD in the auditory lexical decision task was conducted. The objective was to provide summary effect size estimates for accuracy and response time measures for comparisons to age- and language-matched control groups.

Method Two thousand three hundred seventy-two records were initially identified through electronic searches and expert consultation, with this cohort reduced to 9 through duplicate removal and the application of eligibility and quality criteria. The final study cohort included 499 children aged 3;8–11;4 (years;months).

Results Multivariate analysis suggests that children with DLD were significantly less accurate in the auditory lexical decision task than age-matched controls. For the response time estimate, however, confidence intervals for the same group comparison crossed 0, suggesting no reliable difference between groups. Confidence intervals also crossed 0 for language-matched control estimates for both accuracy and response time, suggesting no reliable difference between groups on either measure.

Conclusion Results broadly support the hypothesis that children with DLD have difficulty in forming detailed lexical representations relative to age- though not language-matched peers. However, further work is required to determine the performance profiles of potential subgroups and the impact of manipulating different lexical characteristics, such as the position and degree of nonword error, phonotactic probability, and semantic network size.

Acknowledgments
The authors thank Barbara Dodd, Shelley Gray, Eileen Haebig, Suze Leitão, Franck Ramus, Phaedra Royle, Richard Schwartz, Bill Wells, Cori Williams, and Jennifer Windsor for providing feedback, research papers, and data in response to consultation requests and also Daniel Quintana, Andy Field, and Wolfgang Viechtbauer for their comments on methodology.
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