Reading and Listening in People With Aphasia: Effects of Syntactic Complexity Purpose The purpose of this study was to compare online effects of syntactic complexity in written and spoken sentence comprehension in people with aphasia (PWA) and adults with no brain damage (NBD). Method The participants in Experiment 1 were NBD older and younger adults (n = 20 per ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2013
Reading and Listening in People With Aphasia: Effects of Syntactic Complexity
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gayle DeDe
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Correspondence to Gayle DeDe: gdede@arizona.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Heather Wright
    Associate Editor: Heather Wright×
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2013
Reading and Listening in People With Aphasia: Effects of Syntactic Complexity
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2013, Vol. 22, 579-590. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2013/12-0111)
History: Received August 24, 2012 , Revised November 27, 2012 , Accepted April 3, 2013
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2013, Vol. 22, 579-590. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2013/12-0111)
History: Received August 24, 2012; Revised November 27, 2012; Accepted April 3, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Purpose The purpose of this study was to compare online effects of syntactic complexity in written and spoken sentence comprehension in people with aphasia (PWA) and adults with no brain damage (NBD).

Method The participants in Experiment 1 were NBD older and younger adults (n = 20 per group). The participants in Experiment 2 were 10 PWA. In both experiments, the participants read and listened to sentences in self-paced reading and listening tasks. The experimental materials consisted of object cleft sentences (e.g., It was the girl who the boy hugged.) and subject cleft sentences (e.g., It was the boy who hugged the girl.).

Results The predicted effects of syntactic complexity were observed in both Experiments 1 and 2: Reading and listening times were longer for the verb in sentences with object compared to subject relative clauses. The NBD controls showed exaggerated effects of syntactic complexity in reading compared to listening. The PWA did not show different modality effects from the NBD participants.

Conclusion Although effects of syntactic complexity were somewhat exaggerated in reading compared with listening, both the PWA and the NBD controls showed similar effects in both modalities.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by an American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigators Grant and by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant DC010808. The author would like to thank the research participants and their families as well as the students who helped with data collection. The author would also like to thank Audrey Holland for helpful feedback on a previous version of this article.
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