Discriminating autism and language impairment and specific language impairment through acuity of musical imagery

Heaton, Pam F.; Tsang, Wai-Fang; Jakubowski, Kelly; Müllensiefen, Daniel and Allen, Rory. 2018. Discriminating autism and language impairment and specific language impairment through acuity of musical imagery. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 80, pp. 52-63. ISSN 0891-4222 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Deficits in auditory short-term memory have been widely reported in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI), and recent evidence suggests that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and co-morbid language impairment (ALI) experience similar difficulties. Music, like language relies on auditory memory and the aim of the study was to extend work investigating the impact of auditory short-term memory impairments to musical perception in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Groups of children with SLI and ALI were matched on chronological age (CA), receptive vocabulary, non-verbal intelligence and digit span, and compared with CA matched typically developing (TD) controls, on tests of pitch and temporal acuity within a voluntary musical imagery paradigm. The SLI participants performed at significantly lower levels than the ALI and TD groups on both conditions of the task and their musical imagery and digit span scores were positively correlated. In contrast ALI participants performed as well as TD controls on the tempo condition and better than TD controls on the pitch condition of the task. Whilst auditory short-term memory and receptive vocabulary impairments were similar across ALI and SLI groups, these were not associated with a deficit in voluntary musical imagery performance in the ALI group.

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Autism spectrum disorder, Specific language impairment Musical imagery, Auditory short-term memory.

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7 June 2018Accepted
15 June 2018Published Online
1 September 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

05 Jul 2018 15:12

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 11:50

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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