Auditory perception in SLI

A long-standing hypothesis of the cause of SLI since the 1960Ős has been that a deficit in the speed of processing auditory stimuli (such as speech) underlies the disorder. In recent work with Stuart Rosen, we investigated whether a consistent deficit in rapid processing of auditory speech and non-speech stimuli characterized G-SLI subjects, as a domain-general perspective implies would be the case. In view of the fact that a subset of G-SLI children performed normally on all of our auditory tasks, whereas this was not so for some age and language controls, the data proved inconsistent with domain-general predictions. However, because as a group the G-SLI children were significantly impaired in the tasks in comparison to the age controls but were not significantly different from the language controls, two possible interpretations arose: 1) The G-SLI children have an underlying linguistic deficit, or 2) they have a deficit with respect to acoustic complexity. Ongoing work to disentangle these issues, commenced with Stuart Rosen, John Harris, and Peter Jusczyk, will be continued with Rosen and Harris and acknowledges Peter Jusczyk's contribution to discussions in the early stages of this work.

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