The slower the better? Does the speaker’s speech rate influence children’s performance on a language comprehension test?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to examine the effects of speech rate on children’s performance on a widely used language comprehension test, the Test for Reception of Grammar, version 2 (TROG 2), and to explore how test performance interacts with task difficulty and with the child’s working memory capacity. Participants were 102 typically developing Swedish-speaking children randomly assigned to one of the three conditions; the TROG 2 sentences spoken by a speech-language pathologist with slow, normal or fast speech rate. Results showed that the fast speech rate had a negative effect on the TROG 2 scores and that slow rate was more beneficial in general. However, for more difficult tasks the beneficial effect of slow speech was only pronounced for children with better scores on a working memory task. Our interpretation is that slow speech is particularly helpful when children do not yet fully master a task but are just about to grasp it. Our results emphasise the necessity of careful considerations of the role dynamic aspects of examiner’s speech might play in test administration and favour digitalised procedures in standardised language comprehension assessment.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Learning


  • language comprehension, speech rate, working memory, reliability in tests, digitalised tests, off-line processing
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Logopedics, Phoniatrics and Audiology (013020000), Cognitive Science (015001004), Educational Sciences (000026010), Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

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