Speech timing and working memory in profoundly deaf children after cochlear implantation

Rose A. Burkholder, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Scopus citations


Thirty-seven profoundly deaf children between 8- and 9-years-old with cochlear implants and a comparison group of normal-hearing children were studied to measure speaking rates, digit spans, and speech timing during digit span recall. The deaf children displayed longer sentence durations and pauses during recall and shorter digit spans compared to the normal-hearing children. Articulation rates, measured from sentence durations, were strongly correlated with immediate memory span in both normal-hearing and deaf children, indicating that both slower subvocal rehearsal and scanning processes may be factors that contribute to the deaf children's shorter digit spans. These findings demonstrate that subvocal verbal rehearsal speed and memory scanning processes are not only dependent on chronological age as suggested in earlier research by Cowan and colleagues (1998). Instead, in this clinical population the absence of early auditory experience and phonological processing activities before implantation appears to produce measurable effects on the working memory processes that rely on verbal rehearsal and serial scanning of phonological information in short-term memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-88
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Articulation rate
  • Cochlear implants
  • Deafness
  • Digit span
  • Speech timing
  • Verbal rehearsal
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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