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Long-Term Memory: A Review and Meta-Analysis of Studies of Declarative and Procedural Memory in Specific Language Impairment

Lum, Jarrad A. G.; Conti-Ramsden, Gina

doi: 10.1097/01.TLD.0000437939.01237.6a
Original Articles

This review examined the status of long-term memory systems in specific language impairment (SLI)—declarative memory and aspects of procedural memory in particular. Studies included in the review were identified following a systematic search of the literature and findings combined using meta-analysis. This review showed that individuals with SLI are poorer than age-matched controls in the learning and retrieval of verbal information from the declarative memory. However, there is evidence to suggest that the problems with declarative learning and memory for verbal information in SLI might be due to difficulties with verbal working memory and language. The learning and retrieval of nonverbal information from declarative memory appears relatively intact. In relation to procedural learning and memory, evidence indicates poor implicit learning of verbal information. Findings pertaining to nonverbal information have been mixed. This review of the literature indicates that there are now substantial grounds for suspecting that multiple memory systems may be implicated in the impairment.

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School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia (Dr Lum); and School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom (Dr Conti-Ramsden).

Corresponding Author: Jarrad A. G. Lum, PhD, BBsc (Hons), School of Psychology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Melbourne, Australia (

The authors acknowledge the support of the Wellcome Trust (Grant #079305).

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

The authors have indicated that they have no financial and no nonfinancial relationships to disclose.

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