Talker discrimination in preschool children with and without specific language impairment

Natalie S. Dailey, Elena Plante, Rebecca Vance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Variability inherently present between multiple talkers can prove beneficial in the context of learning. However, the performance during learning paradigms by children with specific language impairment (SLI) remains below typically developing peers, even when multiple talkers are used. Preschool children with typically developing language ( n= 17) and SLI ( n= 17) participated in a talker discrimination task. Five different pairings of talkers (same male, different males, same female, different females, male. +. female) were used to present 50 spoken words. Children with SLI were significantly poorer in discriminating same and different male speakers compared to their typical peers. The present findings demonstrate that preschool children with SLI can experience difficulty distinguishing between talkers. Poor sensitivity to variation in talkers may contribute to poor learning in SLI for contexts where multiple talker input should benefit the learner. Learning outcomes: The reader will recognize that the presence of multiple talkers (voices) can assist or detract from performance on cognitive tasks. Children with specific language impairment are less proficient than their peers in distinguishing the same from different talkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Child
  • Specific Language Impairment
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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