Executive Function and Ambiguous Sentence Comprehension Purpose Sentence comprehension is a critical skill in today's literate society. Recent evidence suggests that processing and comprehending language taps cognitive as well as linguistic abilities, a finding that has critical import for clinicians who have clients with language disorders. To promote awareness of the impact of cognition, especially executive ... Viewpoint
Viewpoint  |   May 01, 2016
Executive Function and Ambiguous Sentence Comprehension
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sarah E. Key-DeLyria
    Portland State University, OR
  • Lori J. P. Altmann
    University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Sarah Key-DeLyria: keydel@pdx.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Carol Miller
    Associate Editor: Carol Miller×
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Viewpoint
Viewpoint   |   May 01, 2016
Executive Function and Ambiguous Sentence Comprehension
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2016, Vol. 25, 252-267. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0111
History: Received August 7, 2014 , Revised February 16, 2015 , Accepted September 13, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2016, Vol. 25, 252-267. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0111
History: Received August 7, 2014; Revised February 16, 2015; Accepted September 13, 2015

Purpose Sentence comprehension is a critical skill in today's literate society. Recent evidence suggests that processing and comprehending language taps cognitive as well as linguistic abilities, a finding that has critical import for clinicians who have clients with language disorders. To promote awareness of the impact of cognition, especially executive function (EF) and working memory (WM), this opinion article presents current views of how sentences are processed and links the various steps of the process to specific EF and WM subcomponents.

Method The article focuses on ambiguous sentences, pointing out the similar types of processing needed when resolving an ambiguity and performing EF tasks.

Results We discuss the potential overlap between the neurobiology of sentence processing and EF and the evidence supporting a link between EF and sentence processes.

Conclusion Awareness of the potential role of EF and WM in sentence comprehension will help clinicians be more aware of potential cognitive-linguistic deficits in their clients. Future research will help to clarify the link between EF and sentence comprehension.

Acknowledgments
Thanks to Edith Kaan, H. Wind Cowles, and Gerasimos Fergadiotis for their comments on previous drafts of this article.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access