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Title: Lexical processing and word age of acquisition in children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury
Author: Brown, Lisa Jane
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2009
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In childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI), language production ability, in general, and word retrieval in particular, are amid the most regularly cited areas of difficulty with possibly long-term consequences (Ewing-Cobbs & Barnes, 2002; Catroppa & Anderson, 2004; McCullogh & Feinstein, 2005). Even children and adolescents with mild TBI may experience problems with object naming significant enough to interfere with academic performance (Dennis, 1992). However, picture naming and other aspects of lexical processing have been neglected in paediatric TBI research because previously the focus has been on adult cases or other areas of competence. Certain studies have used reaction time (RT) procedures to examine picture naming and word categorization in adults with TBI compared with typical controls (e.g. Barrow, Hough, Rastatter, Walker, Holbert, & Rotondo, 2006) and in typical and atypical populations of children (e.g. Anderson, 2008). One area of interest has been the age of acquisition (AoA) effect, which predicts that the age at which an object name is acquired influences how rapidly/accurately it can be processed by brain damaged participants with early acquired objects being responded to more rapidly than those learned later in life (Morrison, Chappell and Ellis, 1997). However, the relationship between predictor variables such as AoA and lexical processing during RT tasks has not been actively addressed in children and adolescents with TBI because again previous studies have focussed either on adults or other groups. It is unclear whether these data can be generalised to child brain injury cases. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether there was a relationship between lexical processing variables such as word age of acquisition (AoA) and performance on computerised reaction tasks of picture naming and word semantic categorization by children and adolescents with TBI. Picture stimuli developed by Snodgrass and Vanderwart (1980) and Morrison, Chappell and Ellis (1997) were used. Several research questions were tackled relative to differences and similarities in performance (speed and accuracy) for a group of participants with TBI and a control group matched on chronological age, gender and IQ. Research questions included whether differences/similarities would appear concerning accuracy and reaction time both between and within the groups. Results indicated that the TBI group displayed more accuracy errors on the lexical tasks, but was similar to the control group on type and proportion of picture naming inaccuracies which appeared to be unrelated to AoA. The TBI group displayed greater performance speed on tasks relative to the control group. However, a closer inspection of individual differences indicated that the RTs of a subset of children were particularly enhanced relative to the other children whereas the performance speed of certain other children was similar to or slightly exceeded that of their matched controls. The significance of the AoA effect on lexical processing tasks and the magnitude of this in either group were open to interpretation, but RTs for all children were greater to later acquired than earlier acquired items. The task related characteristics of TBI, implications of the results for clinical practice and future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available