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Information Processing and Proactive Interference in Children (Marton et al., 2014)

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posted on 2014-02-01, 00:00 authored by Klara Marton, Luca Campanelli, Naomi Eichorn, Jessica Scheuer, Jungmee Yoon
Purpose Increasing evidence suggests that children with specific language impairment (SLI) have a deficit in inhibition control, but research isolating specific abilities is scarce. The goal of this study was to examine whether children with SLI differ from their peers in resistance to proactive interference under different conditions.
Method An information processing battery with manipulations in interference was administered to 66 children (SLI, age-matched peers, and language-matched controls). In Experiment 1, previously relevant targets were used as distractors to create conflict. Experiment 2 used item repetitions to examine how practice strengthens word representations and how the strength of a response impacts performance on the following item.
Results Children with SLI performed similarly to their peers in the baseline condition but were more susceptible to proactive interference than the controls in both experimental conditions. Children with SLI demonstrated difficulty suppressing irrelevant information, made significantly more interference errors than their peers, and showed a slower rate of implicit learning.
Conclusion Children with SLI show weaker resistance to proactive interference than their peers, and this deficit impacts their information processing abilities. The coordination of activation and inhibition is less efficient in these children, but future research is needed to further examine the interaction between these two processes.


This study was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 1R15DC009040-01, entitled "The Impact of Inhibition Control on Working Memory in Children With SLI," awarded to Klara Marton, principal investigator; and funding received from the European Union and the European Social Fund, T-MOP, 2010-2012, "Assessment of Cognitive Functions in Children With Different Disabilities" to Klara Marton, principal investigator.


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