Semantic discrimination in nonspeaking youngsters with moderate or severe retardation: Electrophysiological correlates

Dennis L. Molfese, Robin D. Morris, Mary Ann Romski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent studies have used auditory evoked response (AER) procedures to study word meaning in young infants. The present study represents an initial application of these procedures to nonspeaking subjects with moderate or severe mental retardation. AERs were recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp over frontal, temporal, and parietal regions of the left and right hemispheres. As six symbol-experienced subjects viewed visual-graphic symbols (lexigrams), a series of probe tones were presented to elicit the AERs. Half of the symbols were meaningful to the subjects. AER activity recorded from the left hemisphere frontal and temporal electrode sites discriminated between the meaningful and meaningless symbols. Discriminant function analyses indicated that the waveforms could be correctly classified in terms of the evoking stimulus with greater than 80% accuracy. These findings support the usefulness of AERs for studying the neurolinguistic processes underlying behavioral measures of language performance of difficult-to-assess populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalBrain and Language
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing

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