Lexical and Prosodic Effects on Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution in Aphasia
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether and when individuals with aphasia and healthy controls use lexical and prosodic information during on-line sentence comprehension. Individuals with aphasia and controls (n = 12 per group) participated in a self-paced listening experiment. The stimuli were early closure sentences, such as “While the parents watched(,) the child sang a song.” Both lexical and prosodic cues were manipulated. The cues were biased toward the subject- or object- of the ambiguous noun phrase (the child). Thus, there were two congruous conditions (in which both lexical cues and prosodic cues were consistent) and two incongruous conditions (in which lexical and prosodic cues conflicted). The results showed that the people with aphasia had longer listening times for the ambiguous noun phrase (the child) when the cues were conflicting, rather than consistent. The controls showed effects earlier in the sentence, at the subordinate verb (watched or danced). Both groups showed evidence of reanalysis at the main verb (sang). These effects demonstrate that the aphasic group was sensitive to the lexical and prosodic cues, but used them on a delayed time course relative to the control group.
KeywordsSyntactic ambiguity resolution Aphasia On-line sentence processing Prosody
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