On-line sentence reading in people with aphasia: Evidence from eye tracking

Knilans Flax, Jessica (2014) On-line sentence reading in people with aphasia: Evidence from eye tracking. [Clinical Aphasiology Paper]

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People with aphasia (PWA) often exhibit impaired sentence comprehension. According to the Lexical Bias Hypothesis (e.g., Gahl, 2002), these comprehension impairments may emerge due to conflicts between sentence structure and the biases of the words in the sentence. It is unclear whether this hypothesis can be extended to include biases – or expectations – based on the relative frequency of different syntactic structures. For example, there is a lot of evidence that PWA have more difficulty understanding structurally complex sentences (e.g., object clefts - example 2) compared to simpler sentences (e.g., subject clefts - example 1). In this case, structural complexity reflects a variety of features, including deviation from the typical subject-verb-object word order of English. However, subject clefts also occur more frequently than object clefts. Thus, it is possible that both structural complexity and frequency affect how PWA process these sentences types. 1. Subject Cleft: It was the father that entertained the baby during the party last week. 2. Object Cleft: It was the baby that the father entertained during the party last week. Recent work identified patterns of reading times associated with both building a complex structure and violations of syntactic expectations (Staub, 2010). Staub reported slower reading times for college-age adults for both the embedded verb and the second noun phrase in sentences with object versus subject relative clauses. Longer reading times for the verb in object relatives are typically interpreted as evidence of operations associated with building a more complex syntactic structure. However, the second noun phrase is the first point in the sentence at which the object relative structure can be detected. On this basis, Staub claimed that processing disruptions at the second noun phrase occurred because the participants’ expectation for the more common structure (i.e., the subject relative) was violated. The present study asked whether PWA would show effects of complexity and frequency when reading object and subject cleft sentences, as would be expected if the Lexical Bias Hypothesis can be extended to syntactic biases.

Item Type: Clinical Aphasiology Paper
Depositing User: Leo Johnson
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2015
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2016 15:13
Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference > Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2014 : 44th : St. Simons Island, GA : May 27-June 1, 2014
URI: http://aphasiology.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2534

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