Free Lexical and Affective Prosody in Children Essay Sample

In a research that was conducted to establish the lexical and affective prosody in children with high functioning autism, several things were found out. In this research, three experiments were done to find out about lexical and affective prosody in children with high functioning autism (HFA), Grossman et al. (2010). The first experiment looked at people's perception of affective prosody; the second one looked at the lexical stress perception while the third on e looked at production of lexical stress. In these experiments, it was found out that people with HFA were able to determine affect from filtered sentence constructions and disambiguate lexical items on the basis of lexical stress. People were found to produce appropriately differentiated lexical stress patterns with long productions which show lower ability in normal prosody productions. The results show that children with HFA are capable of performing receptive tasks of lexical and affective prosody just like their normal children but they have problems in using prosody to disambiguate syntax, Grossman et al. (2010).

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There are different descriptive statistics that were reported. In the experiment, 21 people with HFA and 22 developing control participants of the ages ranging between 11 and 19 were used. The age range was to allow for comparison with previous studies. All participants used were native English speakers and they were taken through a language and hearing evaluation. Language functioning ability was examined through a receptive language index, Grossman et al. (2010). The inferential statistics used in the study are that prosody indicated the right response in the places where there were ambiguities in sentence constructions.

More so, inferential statistics shows that when using prosody, it is possible that syntactic processing becomes a more complex process that can be learnt later in language development. There is a probability that the results of the study occurred by chance. This is because researches conducted have shown that people with HFA have no fluency in prosody production. More so, the production of stressed lexical items is determined by age hence the results that there were no differences between prosody production of people with autism and those without could haven occurred by chance. The question of whether there is lexical and affective prosody in children with HFA has been answered well in this research. Children with HFA are found to find no difficulties in disambiguating sentences with lexical stress. Such children usually have a reduced ability in normal prosody productions.

One of the themes that the authors drew from the data is that age determined the production of lexical stress words. The theme here shows that children were found to differ in the production of prosody with those of adults. The other theme is the theme of social communicative difficulties. In this theme, the research found out that unusual prosody production becomes a barrier to social acceptance. Those people who have problems with prosody productions find it difficult to be accepted in the society. The descriptive statistics that were used is about the number of people who were used in the study. The study shows the age of the people used and their number.

The reason for reporting these statistics is to show the age of people used in the study to make a comparison with the previous researches that used adult people. The results are comprehensive and representative of the study but they are somehow excessive. This is because they show that children with autism may even not be able to fully use prosody till they pass adolescent stage. The research tries to explain whether there is a similarity in lexical and affective prosody in children with high functioning autism. This research makes it clear that children with autism have problems with prosody production and this only affects them at their young age, Grossman et al. (2010).

In the research, the authors made the conclusion that, children with HFA were able to perform receptive and lexical affective tasks just as were their normal peers. Prosody productions were also found to be long in children with HFA although the children had a good differentiation between lexical patterns. The findings of the research imply that prosody impairment in autism may not be specific to affective processing. Another implication of the findings is that children with autism have problems integrating the information from prosody with other aspects of language for example language structure. More so, the findings also imply that frontal areas involved in the integration and interpretation of information could be implicated in prosody processing deficits in autism, Grossman et al. (2010).

There are limitations that arose in the course of this study. One of these limitations is that in both control conditions, performance was very high. This made it difficult to determine whether or not deficits in these contrast conditions were masked because they were not sufficiently difficult for comparison. The conditions were matched in difficulty in the control group thus increasing the possibility that any group differences could have been as a result of psychometric artifact. More so, the comparisons used did not contain any ambiguity, Grossman et al. (2010).

For the purposes of further research, the authors suggests that researchers should examine the role of interpreting incongruent cues from prosody and other aspects of language or context. They also need advance understanding of how prosody is processed in the brain so as to comprehend how it is disrupted in individuals with autism. Prosody processing and production ought to be the center of the future studies in children with autism. There should be improvement in the daily use of prosody to help in the interpretation of speech in autism, Grossman et al. (2010).

One of the strengths of this study is that it used a sample whose age was different with the age of the participants of previous researches but the weakness is that they only used a small sample that could not have fully represented the whole group. Another weakness of the study is that there was a bias in the verb phrase and this requires to be changed in the coming studies. The strengths in this study is that it came up with adequate psycholinguistic data that will live to help people understand language development in children.


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