Effects of Word Frequency and Modality on Sentence Comprehension Impairments in People With Aphasia Purpose It is well known that people with aphasia have sentence comprehension impairments. The present study investigated whether lexical factors contribute to sentence comprehension impairments in both the auditory and written modalities using online measures of sentence processing. Method People with aphasia and non brain–damaged controls participated in ... Supplement Article
Supplement Article  |   May 01, 2012
Effects of Word Frequency and Modality on Sentence Comprehension Impairments in People With Aphasia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gayle DeDe
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Correspondence to Gayle DeDe: gdede@arizona.edu
  • Editor: Swathi Kiran
    Editor: Swathi Kiran×
  • Associate Editor: Connie Tompkins
    Associate Editor: Connie Tompkins×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Supplement: Select Papers From the 41st Clinical Aphasiology Conference
Supplement Article   |   May 01, 2012
Effects of Word Frequency and Modality on Sentence Comprehension Impairments in People With Aphasia
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, S103-S114. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0082)
History: Received August 4, 2011 , Revised December 5, 2011 , Accepted January 17, 2012
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, S103-S114. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0082)
History: Received August 4, 2011; Revised December 5, 2011; Accepted January 17, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose It is well known that people with aphasia have sentence comprehension impairments. The present study investigated whether lexical factors contribute to sentence comprehension impairments in both the auditory and written modalities using online measures of sentence processing.

Method People with aphasia and non brain–damaged controls participated in the experiment (n = 8 per group). Twenty-one sentence pairs containing high- and low-frequency words were presented in self-paced listening and reading tasks. The sentences were syntactically simple and differed only in the critical words. The dependent variables were response times for critical segments of the sentence and accuracy on the comprehension questions.

Results The results showed that word frequency influences performance on measures of sentence comprehension in people with aphasia. The accuracy data on the comprehension questions suggested that people with aphasia have more difficulty understanding sentences containing low-frequency words in the written compared to auditory modality. Both group and single-case analyses of the response time data also indicated that people with aphasia experience more difficulty with reading than listening.

Conclusion Sentence comprehension in people with aphasia is influenced by word frequency and presentation modality.

Acknowledgments
I would like to thank all of the participants for their assistance with this study and the members of the Speech, Language, and Brain Lab for their help with data collection. This project was supported by a New Investigators grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation and Grant K23DC010808 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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