Authors: V Persici, N Stucchi, F Arosio.
Article: Rhythmic and Morphosyntactic predictions: The anticipation skills of Italian children with developmental dyslexia.
Publication: (15th Conference of the Italian Association for Cognitive Sciences). page 68-69 2018
In both music and language we anticipate incoming input based on the features of the already parsed input. Recently, it has been discussed whether these two abilities share underlying mechanisms of anticipation (Patel, 2012), which are thought to be relevant for the acquisition of language related skills such as reading and writing (Guasti, Pagliarini & Stucchi, 2018).
We investigated how morphosyntactic and rhythmic information triggers anticipation in language and music by administering a picture selection task (PST) and a rhythmic task (RT) to a group of 15 Italian monolingual children with a diagnosis of Developmental Dyslexia (DD) and to 15 age-matched controls (TD) (mean age: 10;1 years). In the PST children heard sentences where a gender-marked clitic pronoun or determiner provided information on a following agreeing noun requiring a picture selection response (tocca la grande mela – touch thefem big applefem); we manipulated the gender information associated with the nouns in three conditions: phonologically unmarked (G), phonologically marked (GP), phonologically marked and semantically determined (GPS); we measured response accuracy and reaction times. In the RT children familiarized with sequences of sounds in which a warning sound provided information on the occurrence of a future sound triggering a motor response.
Preliminary results revealed that while DD children are slower in processing morphosyntactic information critical for anticipation in the G and GP conditions, they efficiently use the semantic information. Moreover, TD children are more accurate in the RT and exhibit a consistent negative asynchrony as adults do; DD children are less accurate.