Poster C118, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Development of Spoken Language Comprehension in Hearing Children and Children with Cochlear Implants: Data from a Passive Listening Task
Sharon Coffey-Corina1, Kristina Backer1, Laurie lawyer3, Andrew Kessler2, Lee Miller1, David Corina1; 1University of California, Davis, Center for Mind and Brain, 2University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 3University of Essex, U.K.
Profoundly deaf children often exhibit significant delays in spoken language development. While the use of cochlear implants (CIs) help many deaf children achieve normative language development, the neurocognitive factors that underlie success are poorly understood. We evaluated ERPs in hearing (n = 24) and deaf (n = 14) children collected during a novel passive listening paradigm. Notably, the paradigm does not require overt attention to the speech stream. We examined ERPs to open and closed class words, and nouns and verbs presented in sentential context and as a function of age and time in sound. For hearing children, a significant effect of word class was observed between 200-400msc. Open class words elicited a negative component, while closed class words elicited a positive component at (p < .001). Grammatical class also modulated responses, with nouns exhibiting a greater negativity than verbs from 300-600 ms (p < .003). These data indicate that even under passive listening conditions, young children are engaged in elaborative linguistic processing. Responses from deaf children with CIs largely mirrored these effects, but the observed waveforms showed component peaks in later time windows (open vs. closed class 300-500ms.; nouns and verbs, 500-700) with somewhat reduced amplitudes. In many respects, the waveforms of children with CIs appear to exhibit a less mature brain response, while still honoring word and grammatical class. Our data suggests that restoration of hearing ability in profoundly deaf children may permit the latent development of spoken language comprehension.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging