Using Mismatch Negativity to Study Central Auditory Processing in Developmental Language and Literacy Impairments: Where Are We, and Where Should We Be Going?

Department of Experimental PsychologyUniveristy of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 08/2007; 133(4):651-72. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.4.651
Source: PubMed


A popular theoretical account of developmental language and literacy disorders implicates poor auditory temporal processing in their etiology, but evidence from studies using behavioral measures has yielded inconsistent results. The mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory event-related potential has been recommended as an alternative, relatively objective, measure of the brain's ability to discriminate sounds that is suitable for children with limited attention or motivation. A literature search revealed 26 studies of the MMN in individuals with dyslexia or specific language impairment and 4 studies of infants or children at familial risk of these disorders. Findings were highly inconsistent. Overall, attenuation of the MMN and atypical lateralization in the clinical group were most likely to be found in studies using rapidly presented stimuli, including nonverbal sounds. The MMN literature offers tentative support for the hypothesis that auditory temporal processing is impaired in language and literacy disorders, but the field is plagued by methodological inconsistencies, low reliability of measures, and low statistical power. The article concludes with recommendations for improving this state of affairs.

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Available from: Dorothy Vera Margaret Bishop
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    • "Reflective of the rich temporal and spatial structure of EEG/ERP data, this work has examined various features of the electrophysiological response, such as different obligatory ERP components, the MMN, neural oscillations, or a combination of these in the context of paradigms challenging different aspects of auditory processing . For example, several studies indicated that individuals with LLI exhibited atypical ERP responses in a time window of around 100–230 ms, when passively listening to tone or speech stimuli, characterized by attenuated amplitudes or changes in morphology (Bishop et al. 2007, 2012; McArthur and Bishop 2004, 2005). Pihko et al. (2008) used the method of magnetic-source imaging and found the magnetic equivalent of the early P1 deflection evoked by repetitive speech syllables to be weaker among LLI children, an effect localized to supratemporal auditory cortices. "
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    ABSTRACT: Detecting and discriminating subtle and rapid sound changes in the speech environment is a fundamental prerequisite of language processing, and deficits in this ability have frequently been observed in individuals with language-learning impairments (LLI). One approach to studying associations between dysfunctional auditory dynamics and LLI, is to implement a training protocol tapping into this potential while quantifying pre- and post-intervention status. Event-related potentials (ERPs) are highly sensitive to the brain correlates of these dynamic changes and are therefore ideally suited for examining hypotheses regarding dysfunctional auditory processes. In this study, ERP measurements to rapid tone sequences (standard and deviant tone pairs) along with behavioral language testing were performed in 6- to 9-year-old LLI children (n = 21) before and after audiovisual training. A non-treatment group of children with typical language development (n = 12) was also assessed twice at a comparable time interval. The results indicated that the LLI group exhibited considerable gains on standardized measures of language. In terms of ERPs, we found evidence of changes in the LLI group specifically at the level of the P2 component, later than 250 ms after the onset of the second stimulus in the deviant tone pair. These changes suggested enhanced discrimination of deviant from standard tone sequences in widespread cortices, in LLI children after training.
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    • "These ERP responses have been used in children to gauge brain maturation (Liu et al., 2014) and to study specific childhood neurological disorders. They are altered in specific language impairment (Bishop, 2007; Hommet et al., 2009), reflect risk of familial dyslexia (Maurer et al., 2003), and are even predictive of reading ability (Maurer et al., 2009). The MMN have been shown to change with musical training (François et al., 2013; Chobert et al., 2014; Putkinen, 2014) although, to the best of our knowledge, they have not been used to date to evaluate changes in brain plasticity during MT in neurorestorative settings. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study was a two-armed parallel group design aimed at testing real world effectiveness of a music therapy (MT) intervention for children with severe neurological disorders. The control group received only the standard neurorestoration program and the experimental group received an additional MT " Auditory Attention plus Communication protocol " just before the usual occupational and speech therapy. Multivariate Item Response Theory (MIRT) identified a neuropsychological status-latent variable manifested in all children and which exhibited highly significant changes only in the experimental group. Changes in brain plasticity also occurred in the experimental group, as evidenced using a Mismatch Event Related paradigm which revealed significant post intervention positive responses in the latency range between 308 and 400 ms in frontal regions. LORETA EEG source analysis identified prefrontal and midcingulate regions as differentially activated by the MT in the experimental group. Taken together, our results showing improved attention and communication as well as changes in brain plasticity in children with severe neurological impairments, confirm the importance of MT for the rehabilitation of patients across a wide range of dysfunctions.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Frontiers in Neuroscience
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    • "In contrast , in studies in which the difference in sound frequency of stimuli is large (> 10%), group differences are not statistically detectable (Hämäläinen Leppänen, Guttorm, & Lyytinen, 2008; Meng et al., 2005; Schulte-Körne, Deimel, Bartling, & Remschmidt, 2001; Sharma et al., 2006). Bishop (2007), in her review of findings of ERP studies of frequency processing in individuals with language impairment and dyslexia , arrived at a similar conclusion regarding the processing of small and large differences in sound frequency among those with dyslexia. There are two exceptions to this pattern of results. "

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