Development of Auditory Saltation and Its Relationship to Reading and Phonological Processing

Kidd, Joanna C.; Hogben, John H.
April 2006
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2006, Vol. 49 Issue 2, p352
Academic Journal
Purpose: The temporal offset of auditory saltation is thought to be reflective of the limits of temporal resolution, and has recently been used to compare dyslexic and control adults and children, with mixed results (R. Hari & P. Kiesilä, 1996; M. Kronbichler, F. Hutzler, & H. Wimmer, 2002). This study sought to document and understand normative changes in saltation thresholds as a function of age, and examine the relationship of saltation thresholds to reading and phonological processing across development. Method: This study used a cross-sectional developmental design. Groups of 7-8-, 9-10-, and 11-13-year-old children, and adults, undertook a 2-alternative forced-choice saltation task, along with standard tests of reading and phonological processing. Results: Significantly higher and more variable saltation thresholds were evident in the 7-8-year-old group. Group distributions were skewed: Only a few young children obtained poor thresholds while most showed adult-like performance. Saltation thresholds were not related to reading or phonological processing skills at any stage of development. Conclusions: The temporal offset of saltation is unlikely to reflect the true limits of temporal resolution in young children, but rather the conflation of perceptual and nonperceptual factors (such as poor short-term memory, inattention, and confusion) to task performance. Effort should be made to minimize such nonperceptual factors, particularly when using saltation as a measure of temporal resolution in participants with dyslexia.


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