Lexical–semantic processes in children with specific language impairment


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Abstract

The current study used event-related brain potentials to investigate lexical–semantic processing of words in sentences spoken by children with specific language impairment and children with normal language development. Children heard correct sentences and sentences with a violation of the selectional restriction of the verb. Control children showed an N400 effect followed by a late positivity for the incorrect sentences. In contrast, children with specific language impairment showed no N400 effect but did show a late, broadly distributed positivity. This absence of the N400 effect is due to a relatively large negativity for correct sentences, suggesting weaker lexical–semantic representations of the verbs and their selectional restrictions in children with specific language impairment.

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