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Functional organisation for verb generation in children with developmental language disorder

Krishnan, S; Asaridou, SS; Cler, GJ; Smith, HJ; Willis, HE; Healy, MP; Thompson, PA; ... Watkins, KE; + view all (2021) Functional organisation for verb generation in children with developmental language disorder. NeuroImage , 226 (117599) 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117599. Green open access

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Abstract

Developmental language disorder (DLD) is characterised by difficulties in learning one's native language for no apparent reason. These language difficulties occur in 7% of children and are known to limit future academic and social achievement. Our understanding of the brain abnormalities associated with DLD is limited. Here, we used a simple four-minute verb generation task (children saw a picture of an object and were instructed to say an action that goes with that object) to test children between the ages of 10–15 years (DLD N = 50, typically developing N = 67). We also tested 26 children with poor language ability who did not meet our criteria for DLD. Contrary to our registered predictions, we found that children with DLD did not have (i) reduced activity in language relevant regions such as the left inferior frontal cortex; (ii) dysfunctional striatal activity during overt production; or (iii) a reduction in left-lateralised activity in frontal cortex. Indeed, performance of this simple language task evoked activity in children with DLD in the same regions and to a similar level as in typically developing children. Consistent with previous reports, we found sub-threshold group differences in the left inferior frontal gyrus and caudate nuclei, but only when analysis was limited to a subsample of the DLD group (N = 14) who had the poorest performance on the task. Additionally, we used a two-factor model to capture variation in all children studied (N = 143) on a range of neuropsychological tests and found that these language and verbal memory factors correlated with activity in different brain regions. Our findings indicate a lack of support for some neurological models of atypical language learning, such as the procedural deficit hypothesis or the atypical lateralization hypothesis, at least when using simple language tasks that children can perform. These results also emphasise the importance of controlling for and monitoring task performance.

Type: Article
Title: Functional organisation for verb generation in children with developmental language disorder
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117599
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117599
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Functional neuroimaging, Specific language impairment, Paediatric, Language lateralisation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10134200
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