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Present and past: Can writing abilities in school children be associated with their auditory discrimination capacities in infancy?

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Schaadt,  Gesa
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychology, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Männel,  Claudia
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Oberecker,  Regine
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Friederici,  Angela D.
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schaadt, G., Männel, C., van der Meer, E., Pannekamp, A., Oberecker, R., & Friederici, A. D. (2015). Present and past: Can writing abilities in school children be associated with their auditory discrimination capacities in infancy? Research in Developmental Disabilities, 47, 318-333. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2015.10.002.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-93C0-A
Abstract
Literacy acquisition is highly associated with auditory processing abilities, such as auditory discrimination. The event-related potential Mismatch Response (MMR) is an indicator for cortical auditory discrimination abilities and it has been found to be reduced in individuals with reading and writing impairments and also in infants at risk for these impairments. The goal of the present study was to analyze the relationship between auditory speech discrimination in infancy and writing abilities at school age within subjects, and to determine when auditory speech discrimination differences, relevant for later writing abilities, start to develop. We analyzed the MMR registered in response to natural syllables in German children with and without writing problems at two points during development, that is, at school age and at infancy, namely at age 1 month and 5 months. We observed MMR related auditory discrimination differences between infants with and without later writing problems, starting to develop at age 5 months–an age when infants begin to establish language-specific phoneme representations. At school age, these children with and without writing problems also showed auditory discrimination differences, reflected in the MMR, confirming a relationship between writing and auditory speech processing skills. Thus, writing problems at school age are, at least, partly grounded in auditory discrimination problems developing already during the first months of life.