Author(s): Greenham SL, Stelmack RM, van der Vlugt H
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Abstract The role of attention in the processing of pictures and words was investigated for a group of normally achieving children and for groups of learning disability sub-types that were defined by deficient performance on tests of reading and spelling (Group RS) and of arithmetic (Group A). An event-related potential (ERP) recording paradigm was employed in which the children were required to attend to and name either pictures or words that were presented individually or in superimposed picture-word arrays that varied in degree of semantic relation. For Group RS, the ERP waves to words, both presented individually or attended in the superimposed array, exhibited reduced N450 amplitude relative to controls, whereas their ERP waves to pictures were normal. This suggests that the word-naming deficiency for Group RS is not a selective attention deficit but rather a specific linguistic deficit that develops at a later stage of processing. In contrast to Group RS and controls, Group A did not exhibit reliable early frontal negative waves (N280) to the super-imposed pictures and words, an effect that may reflect a selective attention deficit for these children that develops at an early stage of visuo-spatial processing. These early processing differences were also evident in smaller amplitude N450 waves for Group A when naming either pictures or words in the superimposed arrays.
This article was published in Dev Neuropsychol
and referenced in Brain Disorders & Therapy