Abstract In specific language impairment (SLI), there is a delay in the child’s oral language skills when compared with nonverbal cognitive abilities. The problems typically relate to phonological and morphological processing and word learning. This article reviews studies which have used mismatch negativity (MMN) in investigating low-level neural auditory dysfunctions in this disorder. With MMN, it is possible to tap the accuracy of neural sound discrimination and sensory memory functions. These studies have found smaller response amplitudes and longer latencies for speech and non-speech sound changes in children with SLI than in typically developing children, suggesting impaired and slow auditory discrimination in SLI. Furthermore, they suggest shortened sensory memory duration and vulnerability of the sensory memory to masking effects. Importantly, some studies reported associations between MMN parameters and language test measures. In addition, it was found that language intervention can influence the abnormal MMN in children with SLI, enhancing its amplitude. These results suggest that the MMN can shed light on the neural basis of various auditory and memory impairments in SLI, which are likely to influence speech perception.
- 3112 Neurovetenskaper