Intervening to alleviate word-finding difficulties in children: case series data and a computational modelling foundation

Best, W., Fedor, A., Hughes, L., Kapikian, A., Masterson, Jackie, Roncoli, S., Fern Pollak, Liory and Thomas, Michael (2015) Intervening to alleviate word-finding difficulties in children: case series data and a computational modelling foundation. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 32 (3-4). pp. 133-168. ISSN 0264-3294

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We evaluated a simple computational model of productive vocabulary acquisition, applied to simulating two case studies of 7-year-old children with developmental word-finding difficulties across four core behavioural tasks. Developmental models were created, which captured the deficits of each child. In order to predict the effects of intervention, we exposed the computational models to simulated behavioural interventions of two types, targeting the improvement of either phonological or semantic knowledge. The model was then evaluated by testing the predictions from the simulations against the actual results from an intervention study carried out with the two children. For one child it was predicted that the phonological intervention would be effective, and the semantic intervention would not. This was borne out in the behavioural study. For the second child, the predictions were less clear and depended on the nature of simulated damage to the model. The behavioural study found an effect of semantic but not phonological intervention. Through an explicit computational simulation, we therefore employed intervention data to evaluate our theoretical understanding of the processes underlying acquisition of lexical items for production and how they may vary in children with developmental language difficulties.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1080/02643294.2014.1003204
Additional Information: © 2015 Taylor & Francis. This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Cognitive Neuropsychology, Volume 32, Issue 3-4, available online at:
Keywords: intervention, word-finding difficulties, connectionist modelling, phonology, semantics, naming
Subjects: Psychology
Depositing User: Rod Pow
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 08:54
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:42


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