Functional brain activation differences in school-age children with speech sound errors: Speech and print processing

Jonathan L. Preston, Susan Felsenfeld, Stephen J. Frost, W. Einar Mencl, Robert K. Fulbright, Elena L. Grigorenko, Nicole Landi, Ayumi Seki, Kenneth R. Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine neural response to spoken and printed language in children with speech sound errors (SSE). Method: Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to compare processing of auditorily and visually presented words and pseudowords in 17 children with SSE, ages 8;6[years;months] through 10;10, with 17 matched controls. Results: When processing spoken words and pseudowords, the SSE group showed less activation than typically speaking controls in left middle temporal gyrus. They also showed greater activation than controls in several cortical and subcortical regions (e.g., left superior temporal gyrus, globus pallidus, insula, fusiform, and bilateral parietal regions). In response to printed words and pseudowords, children with SSE had greater activation than controls in regions including bilateral fusiform and anterior cingulate. Some differences were found in both speech and print processing that that may be associated with children with SSE failing to show common patterns of task-induced deactivation and /or attentional resource allocation. Conclusion: Compared with controls, children with SSE appear to rely more on several dorsal speech perception regions and less on ventral speech perception regions. When processing print, numerous regions were observed to be activated more for the SSE group than for controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1068-1082
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Print processing
  • Speech perception
  • Speech sound errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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