Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Anthony Steven Dick

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Lorraine Bahrick

Third Advisor's Name

Robert Lickliter


Language, Development, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, White Matter, Fiber Pathways

Date of Defense



The present study characterized two fiber pathways important for language, the superior longitudinal fasciculus/arcuate fasciculus (SLF/AF) and the frontal aslant tract (FAT), and related these tracts to speech, language, and literacy skill in children five to eight years old. We used Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to characterize the fiber pathways and administered several language assessments. The FAT was identified for the first time in children. Results showed no age-related change in integrity of the FAT, but did show age-related change in the left (but not right) SLF/AF. Moreover, only the integrity of the right FAT was related to phonology but not audiovisual speech perception, articulation, language, or literacy. Both the left and right SLF/AF related to language measures, specifically receptive and expressive language, and language content. These findings are important for understanding the neurobiology of language in the developing brain, and can be incorporated within contemporary dorsal-ventral-motor models for language.





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