Language and inhibition in language impairment (Larson et al., 2020)

Background: This study examined predictive relationships between two indices of language—receptive vocabulary and morphological comprehension—and inhibition in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing (TD) children.
Methods: Participants included 30 children with SLI and 41 TD age-matched peers (8–12 years). At two time points separated by 1 year, we assessed receptive vocabulary and morphological comprehension via standardized language measures and inhibition via a Flanker task. We used Bayesian model averaging and Bayesian regression analytical techniques.
Results: Findings indicated predictive relationships between language indices and inhibition reaction time (RT), but not between language indices and inhibition accuracy. For the SLI group, Year 1 inhibition RT predicted Year 2 morphological comprehension. For the TD group, Year 1 morphological comprehension predicted Year 2 inhibition RT.
Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence of a predictive relationship between language and inhibition, but this relationship differed between children with SLI and those with typical development. Findings suggest that inhibition RT played a larger predictive role in later morphological comprehension in children with SLI relative to the other relationships examined. Targeting inhibition skills as a part of language intervention may improve subsequent morphological comprehension.

Supplemental Material S1. Bayesian Model Averaging; BMA Output – Incongruent Condition, Congruent Condition; Bayesian Linear Regression, Incongruent Condition, Congruent Condition.

Larson, C., Kaplan, D., Kaushanskaya, M., & Ellis Weismer, S. (2020). Language and inhibition: Predictive relationships in children with language impairment relative to typically developing peers. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.