List recall in children with specific language impairment and children who stutter : a preliminary investigation

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Nelson, Kristen Lee

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This thesis extends a previous pilot study with children who stutter (CWS) to include children with specific language impairment (CSLI). The current study examines lexical-semantic organization in these two clinical populations in hopes of comparing and contrasting behavioral profiles. The study employed a list-recall task to assess the lexical-semantic organization of 9 CWS, 5 CSLI, and 20 typically developing children matched for age and vocabulary. Similar to previous investigations, our child participants demonstrated the well-documented list position effects. With regard to recall accuracy, by-participant analyses revealed significant differences between CSLI and their age-matched peers; however, they did not reveal significant differences between the CWS and either of their control groups nor between the CSLI and CWS groups. Further, inspection of error distribution suggested significant differences in the number and types of errors the CSLI and control groups produced. The prevalence of unrelated and previous list errors in CSLI suggest that deficits in inhibitory processes as well as perseveration may have affected their performance. Areas of overlap and divergence in the profiles of CWS and CSLI indicate continuity in the degree of lexical-semantic weakness as well as differences in lexical retrieval and executive functions among CSLI and CWS.



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