Predicting Story Comprehension of Preschool Children with and without Specific Language Impairment through Eye Movement and Executive Function

Deokjin Song, Dongsun Yim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Story comprehension is an important ability that supports not only the language skills of preschool children but also their learning skills in school age. Through three subtasks of executive function (updating, inhibition, and shifting) and eye movement, we examined the process of children's story comprehension online and offline. Also, we looked for the variable which predicts children's story comprehension. Methods: Participants were 11 children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 17 typically developing children (TD) aged 4-6 years. Group differences were compared using story comprehension (reference comprehension and inference comprehension), updating, inhibition, shifting tasks (n-back, flanker, and DCCS) representing executive function and story processing using the eye tracker. Moreover, correlation analysis was conducted to find the relationship between variables, and regression analysis was used to determine which variable, executive function or eye tracker, predicts story comprehension. Results: The SLI group showed more difficulty in story comprehension and executive function than children in the TD group. Furthermore, the TD group gazed at important visual cues longer than children in the SLI group. The TD group showed a correlation between story comprehension and both the subelements of executive function and average fixation duration unlike the SLI group. Updating predicted reference comprehension and inference comprehension simultaneously in the TD group. Conclusion: It is suggested that TD children can understand stories more efficiently by using their executive function and also can distinguish areas of significance in picture books through staring at a subject for a long time to foster learning in contrast to children with SLI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-796
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. All Rights Reserved.


  • Executive function
  • Eye-tracking
  • Narrative
  • Preschool children
  • SLI
  • Story comprehension


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