Rhythmic auditory stimulation influences syntactic processing in children with developmental language disorders

Lauranne Przybylski, Nathalie Bedoin, Sonia Krifi-Papoz, Vania Herbillon, Didier Roch, Laure Léculier, Sonja A. Kotz, Barbara Tillmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: Children with developmental language disorders have been shown to be impaired not only in language processing (including syntax), but also in rhythm and meter perception. Our study tested the influence of external rhythmic auditory stimulation (i.e., musical rhythm) on syntax processing in children with specific language impairment (SLI; Experiment 1A) and dyslexia (Experiment 1B). Method: Children listened to either regular or irregular musical prime sequences followed by blocks of grammatically correct and incorrect sentences. They were required to perform grammaticality judgments for each auditorily presented sentence. Results: Performance of all children (SLI, dyslexia, and controls) in the grammaticality judgments was better after regular prime sequences than after irregular prime sequences, as shown by d= data. The benefit of the regular prime was stronger for SLI children (partial 2 .34) than for dyslexic children (partial 2 .14), who reached higher performance levels. Conclusion: Together with previous findings on deficits in temporal processing and sequencing, as well as with the recent proposition of a temporal sampling (oscillatory) framework for developmental language disorders (U. A. Goswami, 2011, Temporal sampling framework for developmental dyslexia, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 15, pp. 3-10), our results point to potential avenues in using rhythmic structures (even in nonverbal materials) to boost linguistic structure processing. © 2013 American Psychological Association.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-131
    Number of pages10
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Dyslexia
    • Music
    • Specific language impairment
    • Syntax processing
    • Temporal processing


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