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Title: Auditory and speech processing in specific language impairment (SLI) and dyslexia
Author: Tuomainen, O. T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 6204
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis investigates auditory and speech processing in Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and dyslexia. One influential theory of SLI and dyslexia postulates that both SLI and dyslexia stem from similar underlying sensory deficit that impacts speech perception and phonological development leading to oral language and literacy deficits. Previous studies, however, have shown that these underlying sensory deficits exist in only a subgroup of language impaired individuals, and the exact nature of these deficits is still largely unknown. The present thesis investigates three aspects of auditory-phonetic interface: 1) The weighting of acoustic cues to phonetic voicing contrast 2) the preattentive and attentive discrimination of speech and non-linguistic stimuli and 3) the formation of auditory memory traces for speech and non-linguistic stimuli in young adults with SLI and dyslexia. This thesis focuses on looking at both individial and group-level data of auditory and speech processing and their relationship with higher-level language measures. The groups of people with SLI and dyslexia who participated were aged between 14 and 25 and their performance was compared to a group of controls matched on chronological age, IQ, gender and handedness. Investigations revealed a complex pattern of behaviour. The results showed that individuals with SLI or dyslexia are not poor at discriminating sounds (whether speech or non-speech). However, in all experiments, there was more variation and more outliers in the SLI group indicating that auditory deficits may occur in a small subgroup of the SLI population. Moreover, investigations of the exact nature of the input-processing deficit revealed that some individuals with SLI have less categorical representations for speech sounds and that they weight the acoustic cues to phonemic identity differently from controls and dyslexics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available