Tallal P, Gaab N. Dynamic auditory processing, musical experience and language development. Trends Neurosci 29: 382-390

Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07102, USA.
Trends in Neurosciences (Impact Factor: 13.56). 08/2006; 29(7):382-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2006.06.003
Source: PubMed


Children with language-learning impairments (LLI) form a heterogeneous population with the majority having both spoken and written language deficits as well as sensorimotor deficits, specifically those related to dynamic processing. Research has focused on whether or not sensorimotor deficits, specifically auditory spectrotemporal processing deficits, cause phonological deficit, leading to language and reading impairments. New trends aimed at resolving this question include prospective longitudinal studies of genetically at-risk infants, electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies, and studies aimed at evaluating the effects of auditory training (including musical training) on brain organization for language. Better understanding of the origins of developmental LLI will advance our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying individual differences in language development and lead to more effective educational and intervention strategies. This review is part of the INMED/TINS special issue "Nature and nurture in brain development and neurological disorders", based on presentations at the annual INMED/TINS symposium (

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    • "Specifically the fast sequential changes in amplitude and frequency related to speech require rapid analysis on the level of sensory processing (bottom-up), and then require identification and isolation (top-down) from competing simultaneous sounds, such as environmental noise. This complex auditory task is achieved with ease and in a seemingly effortless fashion over typical development, but is believed to go awry in a condition termed language-learning impairment (Tallal and Gaab 2006). One approach that allows analysis of the critical auditory dynamics that may be dysfunctional in childhood language disorders is to implement a training protocol thought to impact multilevel auditory processing and observe whether there is a relative change upon completion of the protocol. "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Brain Topography
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    • "Two broad lines of research emphasize different cognitive-level manifestations and/or causes, either bottom-up or top-down, for the phonological processing deficit . Bottom-up explanations suggests basic auditory processing problems are the underlying basis of the phonological deficit (Farmer & Klein, 1995; Tallal & Gaab, 2006). In this account, poor auditory and speech processing leads to fuzzy or inexact speech sound representations, which in turn constrain phonological processing (Pasquini, Corriveau, & Goswami, 2007; Talcott & Witton, 2002). "

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    • "There is a growing body of research that links reading failure to auditory processing disorders (Tallal, 2012). Tallal and Gaab (2006) suggested relationships between musical training, auditory processing, language, and literacy skills. More recently, Tallal (2012) demonstrated how auditory interventions can improve reading. "
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    ABSTRACT: Systematic reviews of research provide valuable information for researchers, clinicians, and educators. A single Cochrane Review reports on music and dyslexia; however, the struct inclusion criteria used in the study required randomized controlled trials (RCT) which resulted in no study being able to be included. The purpose of this systematic review was to identify and analyze research on music and dyslexia. Through computer-based searches utilizing specific keywords and the ancestry approach, 23 studies met inclusion criteria. Once identified, each study was reviewed according to participants, age, purpose, independent and dependent variables, and results. A table was created to outline the analysis of each study. The majority of the 23 articles in the review included children. A few studies focused on the challenges of studying music, in particular problems with reading notation, that students with dyslexia may experience and most of the other studies explored how music can be used to improve literacy skills, or at least be used as a means to test for neural processing of auditory information, and thus could offer the potential to inform early diagnosis. The findings from this review reveal that music training is considered to function as a remediation tool to improve literacy skills for children with dyslexia, although the specific type of music support to achieve predictable outcomes needs to be further investigated. Some limitations, implications for clinical practice, and suggestions for future research are provided.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015
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