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Suppression and inference revision in right brain-damaged and non-brain-damaged adults

Tompkins, Connie A. and Lehman, Margaret T. and Baumgaertner, Annette
Suppression and inference revision in right brain-damaged and non-brain-damaged adults. Aphasiology, 13(9-11), 1999, pages 725-742.


This study examined the extent to which participants were able to inhibit, or suppress, initial inferences that were rendered inappropriate by subsequent information and the relation between suppression ability and discourse comprehension in adults with right hemisphere brain damage (RBD). Two-sentence stimuli were presented auditorily to 32 adults with RED and 17 control subjects. An ambiguous initial stimulus sentence elicited both dominant and less-preferred inferences and the second sentence resolved the ambiguity toward the initially less likely interpretation. Subjects judged whether a probe word fit with the meaning of the entire stimulus. To evaluate suppression function, probe words were chosen to represent the dominant, but eventually inappropriate inference for the first sentence. In a comparison condition, the same probes were paired with inferentially unambiguous stimuli. Accurate 'no' judgments of the probe words were slower in the ambiguous condition than in the unambiguous condition, reflecting interference from the dominant but eventually inappropriate interpretations of the ambiguous stimuli. This interference did not subside for either group over two probe intervals (850 and 1200 ms), indicating that neither group as a whole suppressed the unwanted inferences over time. However, on a within-group level, RED subjects' effectiveness at suppressing these inappropriate inferences was related to their comprehension of discourse stimuli that required inference revisions.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
ID Code:1148
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (1998 : 28th : Asheville, NC : June 1998)
Conference Date:June 1998
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Publication Location:London
Alternative Locations:,
Additional Information:Access to Full Text is subject to the Publisher's access restrictions