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

Heaton, Pamela and Tsang, Wai Fung and Jakubowski, Kelly and Mullensiefen, 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.


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.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2018 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:07 June 2018
Date deposited:11 July 2018
Date of first online publication:15 June 2018
Date first made open access:15 June 2019

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