Organization of the mental lexicon in children who stutter : a pilot study

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Dearden, Elizabeth Anne

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This thesis is the pilot study of an ongoing investigation of the organization of the mental lexicon in children with specific language impairment and children who stutter (CWS). The current study analyzes the performance of 8 CWS, ages 4; 11 – 10; 1 and their typically developing age matches (CWNS) on a list recall task adapted from Roediger and McDermott (1995). Talker groups were matched for maternal education level, male to female ratio, and standardized measures of nonverbal intelligence, expressive vocabulary, digit memory, and narrative comprehension and production. Similar to previous reports, the CWS performed significantly lower on a measure of receptive vocabulary and a measure of phonological memory than the CWNS. For both talker groups, there was a positive correlation between age and percentage of correctly recalled words on the list recall task. Older CWNS produced more semantic intrusions than younger CWNS; however the same trend was not demonstrated in CWS. False recall of semantically-related, phonologically-related, and unrelated words was not significantly different between talker groups. These findings provide preliminary evidence of differences between talker groups on a list recall task. The inclusion of a greater number of participants may provide stronger support for the hypothesis that lexical-semantic organization is less efficient in CWS.



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