Poster E49, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
The relationship between a chaotic home environment and language processing in children
Elisa Gallegos1, Julie Schneider1, Michael Lopez1, Yvonne Ralph1, Mandy J Maguire1; 1University of Texas at Dallas
Stressful home environments are linked to detrimental developmental outcomes in children (Nobel et al, 2012; Shonkoff, et al, 2012; Lupien et al, 2009). In the present study, we investigated how self-perceived stress in the home impacts neural indices of word learning. Children (ages 8-15) performed a language task, in which they tried to identify the meaning of unknown words embedded in written sentences as their EEG was recorded. Parents of child participants completed the Confusion, Hubbub and Order Scale (CHAOS; Matheny et al., 1995) which measures the amount of perceived stress in the home. We identified 10 children, 5 from high stress (M=64.8, SD=4.6) and 5 from low stress (M=33.6, SD=6.5) homes that were matched on maternal education, age, primary language (English or Spanish), and performance on the word learning task. Thus, the children only varied on measures of stress in the home, not economic background or language skills. Using the EEGlab toolbox of Matlab, we compared groups’ neural activation throughout the course of the sentence during word learning task. Participants from higher chaos homes showed significantly greater alpha at frontal regions than participants from lower chaos homes. The results from the present study suggest an association between perceived stress in the home and a child’s executive function (alpha increases) during language processing. This has implications for how children process language and learn new words.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other