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Exploring the Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status, Language Exposure and Language Processing in Young Adults

Brown, Jessica (2021) Exploring the Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status, Language Exposure and Language Processing in Young Adults. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

Socio-economic status (SES) has a strong influence on language development, including both vocabulary (e.g., Hart & Risley, 1995) and grammar development (e.g. Huttenlocher et al., 2002). SES influences on both language domains have been shown to be partially mediated by spoken and written language exposure (e.g. Fernald et al., 2013; Rowe, 2008). Fewer studies have examined the role of SES in other language domains, and particularly sentence processing. The goal of this research was to examine the influence of SES and cumulative differences in language exposure on skills supporting sentence comprehension and production. Crucially, these differences are explored in a sample of young adults. Two studies tested a newly developed set of measures which assessed written and spoken language exposure using measures adapted from previous studies (e.g., Acheson et al., 2008), including an updated version of the Author Recognition Test (ART; Moore & Gordon, 2015; Stanovich & West, 1989), and newly developed measures (e.g., measures of spoken language exposure, measures of sentence structure familiarity). Measures of objective SES (parental occupation, parental education, and household income) and subjective SES (MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status; Adler et al., 2000) were also included. To examine language use, measures were included to assess vocabulary knowledge, and language comprehension and production across domains (e.g., word-level, sentence-level, including standardized tests and real-time processing tasks). Measures of SES significantly predicted vocabulary knowledge but were not found to significantly relate to language exposure or other measures of language use. Language exposure significantly predicted vocabulary knowledge and passage comprehension and showed marginally significant results with online sentence comprehension and online sentence production, with recreational reading and the ART as significant predictors.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5386

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