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Title: Using verbal fluency tasks to investigate the lexicon in Greek-speaking children with literacy and language disorders
Author: Mengisidou, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 6638
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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In this thesis, semantic and phonological fluency tasks were used to investigate the lexicon in sixty-six children with dyslexia and/or DLD (hereafter DDLD group) aged 7-12 years and in 83 typically-developing (TD) children aged 6-12 years, all monolingual Greek speakers. In semantic and phonological fluency tasks, responses are often produced in clusters of semantically- or phonologically-related items, respectively (e.g. "cat-dog" is a semantic cluster; "flag-flower" is a phonological cluster). Once the retrieval of items within a cluster slows down, children tend to switch to another cluster. In both groups, productivity in semantic and phonological fluency tasks correlated strongly with the number of clusters and the number of switches, but not with average cluster size. Regression analyses showed that the DDLD group retrieved significantly fewer correct items in semantic and phonological fluency tasks compared to the TD group, but average semantic and phonological cluster size did not differ significantly in the two groups. Furthermore, the two groups did not differ significantly on the number of correct designs generated in the design fluency task. Poorer semantic fluency performance in children with DDLD is attributed to slower retrieval processes while children's semantic structure is intact, as proposed by the Slow-Retrieval Model. Consistent with the Deficient Phonological Access Hypothesis, children with DDLD showed impaired explicit access but intact implicit access to phonological representations. For both verbal fluency categories, slower retrieval processes originating from deficient access to intact semantic and phonological representations, and also inferior language and literacy skills, explain poorer verbal fluency performance in children with dyslexia and/or DLD. The specificity of DDLD children's verbal fluency deficit is supported by evidence showing that children with DDLD showed poorer semantic and phonological fluency performance relative to their TD peers even after design fluency performance was controlled. The underlying causes of slow lexical retrieval still need further investigation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available