Paralinguistic processing in children with callosal agenesis: Emergence of neurolinguistic deficits

Warren S. Brown, Melissa Symingtion, Diana VanLancker-Sidtis, Rosalind Dietrich, Lynn K. Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent research revealed impaired processing of both nonliteral meaning and affective prosody in adults with agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) and normal intelligence. Since normal children have incomplete myelination of the corpus callosum, it was hypothesized that paralanguage deficits in children with ACC would be less apparent relative to their peers. The Familiar and Novel Language Comprehension Test (FANL-C) and Prosody Test were given to 18 children with ACC and normal intelligence and 17 controls matched for age (7-13 years), education, and IQ (83-122). When controlling for age, children with ACC were significantly poorer in comprehension of the precise meaning of both literal and nonliteral items on the FANL-C. Adults with ACC had previously been shown to have difficulty only on nonliteral items. The effect size for nonliteral comprehension in children with ACC was smaller than that seen in adults. There was only a trend for the child ACC group to perform worse on the recognition of affective prosody. Thus, while deficits in paralinguistic processing were apparent, children with ACC were not as clearly different from age peers as adults, and were equally deficient at comprehending literal and nonliteral expressions. The differences in results between adults and children with ACC are thought to reflect incomplete callosal development in normal children, and the importance of the corpus callosum in the early stages of the development of the ability to process literal language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-139
Number of pages5
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Agenesis of the corpus callosum
  • Child development
  • Corpus callosum
  • Idioms
  • Nonliteral language
  • Prosody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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