Age-related improvement in complex language comprehension: Results of a cross-sectional study with 361 children aged 5 to 15

R. Wassenberg*, P.P.M. Hurks, J.G.M. Hendriksen, F.J.M. Feron, C.J.C. Meijs, J.S.H. Vles, J. Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

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We investigated age-related improvement in speed and accuracy of complex language comprehension with 361 children attending kindergarten and the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Language comprehension was measured using both the neuropsychological procedure proposed by Luria (1966, 1980) and an adapted version of the Token Test. Levels of short-term memory and verbal intelligence were controlled for in the evaluation of language comprehension. The findings show that the accuracy of language comprehension continued to develop until the 6th grade, whereas the speed of language comprehension continued to improve up until the 7th grade. We thus conclude that the complex language comprehension of children is not fully developed until early adolescence. We further contend that the speed of complex language comprehension appears to be more sensitive than accuracy with respect to measuring developmental differences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-448
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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