Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In a previous behavioral study, we showed that parents of children with SLI had a subclinical deficit in phonological short-term memory. Here, we tested the hypothesis that they also have a deficit in nonverbal auditory sensory memory. We measured auditory sensory memory using a paradigm involving an electrophysiological component called the mismatch negativity (MMN). The MMN is a measure of the brain's ability to detect a difference between a frequent standard stimulus (1000 Hz tone) and a rare deviant one (1200 Hz tone). Memory effects were assessed by varying the inter-stimulus interval (ISI) between the standard and deviant. We predicted that parents of children with SLI would have a smaller MMN than parents of typically developing children at a long ISI (3000 ms), but not at a short one (800 ms). This was broadly confirmed. However, individual differences in MMN amplitude did not correlate with measures of phonological short-term memory. Attenuation of MMN amplitude at the longer ISI thus did not provide unambiguous support for the hypothesis of a reduced auditory sensory memory in parents of affected children. We conclude by reviewing possible explanations for the observed group effects.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Lang

Publication Date





75 - 88


Acoustic Stimulation, Auditory Perception, Child, Electroencephalography, Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Female, Humans, Language Development Disorders, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Middle Aged, Parents