Early gamma oscillations during rapid auditory processing in children with a language-learning impairment: Changes in neural mass activity after training

Sabine Heim, Andreas Keil, Naseem Choudhury, Jennifer Thomas Friedman, April A. Benasich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children with language-learning impairment (LLI) have consistently shown difficulty with tasks requiring precise, rapid auditory processing. Remediation based on neural plasticity assumes that the temporal precision of neural coding can be improved by intensive training protocols. Here, we examined the extent to which early oscillatory responses in auditory cortex change after audio-visual training, using combined source modeling and time-frequency analysis of the human electroencephalogram (EEG). Twenty-one elementary school students diagnosed with LLI underwent the intervention for an average of 32 days. Pre- and post-training assessments included standardized language/literacy tests and EEG recordings in response to fast-rate tone doublets. Twelve children with typical language development were also tested twice, with no intervention given. Behaviorally, improvements on measures of language were observed in the LLI group following completion of training. During the first EEG assessment, we found reduced amplitude and phase-locking of early (45-75. ms) oscillations in the gamma-band range (29-52. Hz), specifically in the LLI group, for the second stimulus of the tone doublet. Amplitude reduction for the second tone was no longer evident for the LLI children post-intervention, although these children still exhibited attenuated phase-locking. Our findings suggest that specific aspects of inefficient sensory cortical processing in LLI are ameliorated after training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-1001
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Keywords

  • Auditory temporal processing
  • Computerized training
  • Electroencephalography
  • Phase locking
  • Specific language impairment
  • Spectral power

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