Stable auditory processing underlies phonological awareness in typically developing preschoolers

Silvia Bonacina, Sebastian Otto-Meyer, Jennifer Krizman, Travis White-Schwoch, T. Nicol, Nina Kraus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Sound processing is an important scaffold for early language acquisition. Here we investigate its relationship to three components of phonological processing in young children (∼age 3): Phonological Awareness (PA), Phonological Memory (PM), and Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN). While PA is believed to hinge upon consistency of sound processing to distinguish and manipulate word features, PM relies on an internal store of the sounds of language and RAN relies on fluid production of those sounds. Given the previously demonstrated link between PA and the auditory system, we hypothesized that only this component would be associated with auditory neural stability. Moreover, we expected relationships to manifest at early ages because additional factors may temper the association in older children. We measured across-trial stability of the frequency-following response, PA, PM, and RAN longitudinally in twenty-seven children. Auditory neural stability at age ∼3 years exclusively predicts PA, but this relationship vanishes in older children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104664
JournalBrain and Language
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Development
  • Frequency following response
  • Neural stability
  • Phonological awareness
  • Phonological memory
  • Phonological processing
  • Rapid automatized naming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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