Researchers have found that children with Tourettes syndromean inherited neurological disorder with onset in childhood, have the propensity to learn certain mental grammar skills much faster than their peers without the disorder.
According to neurologists at Georgetown University Medical Center and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the findings suggest that abnormalities in the brain linked to tics in Tourettes syndrome may also result in a range of rapid behaviours, and possibly, superior skills than had been appreciated ever before.
These children were particularly fast, as well as largely accurate, in certain language tasks. This tells us that their cognitive processing may be altered in ways we have only begun to explore, and moreover in a manner that may provide them with performance that is actually enhanced compared that of typically-developing children said senior researcher Dr. Michael Ullman, Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology, Neurology, and Linguistics.
As per the background information in a report published in the journal Neuropsychologia, tics in Tourettes syndrome can include eye blinking, repeated throat clearing or sniffing, arm thrusting, kicking, shoulder shrugging, or jumping.
In a study, eight children, aged 8-17, with Tourettes syndrome, and eight typically developing children of the same ages without the disorder were given tasks that included producing past tense forms. All of the children had a normal IQ.
The researchers noted that children with Tourettes syndrome were significantly faster than the control group in producing rule-governed past tenses (such as slip-slipped), which depend on grammar and procedural memory.
But they were not so efficient in producing irregular past tenses (such as bring-brought), which are stored in declarative memory.
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