Subjective SES is Associated with Children's Neurophysiological Response to Auditory Oddballs

Alexander L Anwyl-Irvine*, Edwin S Dalmaijer, Andrew J Quinn, Amy Johnson, Duncan E Astle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Language and reading acquisitions are strongly associated with a child's socioeconomic status (SES). There are a number of potential explanations for this relationship. We explore one potential explanation-a child's SES is associated with how children discriminate word-like sounds (i.e., phonological processing), a foundational skill for reading acquisition. Magnetoencephalography data from a sample of 71 children (aged 6 years and 11 months-12 years and 3 months), during a passive auditory oddball task containing word and nonword deviants, were used to test "where" (which sensors) and "when" (at what time) any association may occur. We also investigated associations between cognition, education, and this neurophysiological response. We report differences in the neural processing of word and nonword deviant tones at an early N200 component (likely representing early sensory processing) and a later P300 component (likely representing attentional and/or semantic processing). More interestingly we found "parental subjective" SES (the parents rating of their own relative affluence) was convincingly associated with later responses, but there were no significant associations with equivalized income. This suggests that the SES as rated by their parents is associated with underlying phonological detection skills. Furthermore, this correlation likely occurs at a later time point in information processing, associated with semantic and attentional processes. In contrast, household income is not significantly associated with these skills. One possibility is that the subjective assessment of SES is more impactful on neural mechanisms of phonological processing than the less complex and more objective measure of household income.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)tgaa092
JournalCerebral cortex communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press.


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