Blog Archives

Effect of Verb Network Strengthening Treatment in Moderate-to-Severe Aphasia

Conclusions: As predicted, the participants did not show the same extent of improvement that was observed in participants with more moderate aphasia (Edmonds, Nadeu, & Kiran, 2009). Nonetheless, the findings suggest that VNeST may be appropriate for persons with moderate-to-severe aphasia, especially with a small adaptation to the treatment protocol that will be retained for future iterations of VNeST.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology

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Treatment of written verb and written sentence production in an individual with aphasia: A clinical study

Background: Although the efficacy of treatments for spoken verb and sentence production deficits in aphasia has been documented widely, less is known about interventions for written verb and written sentence production deficits.

Aims: This study documents a treatment aiming to improve production of (a) written subject-verb sentences (involving intransitive verbs) and (b) written subject-verb-object sentences (involving transitive verbs).

Methods & Procedures: The participant, a 63-year-old female aphasic speaker, had a marked language comprehension deficit, apraxia of speech, relatively good spelling abilities, and no hemiplegia. The treatment involved intransitive verbs producing subject-verb active sentences and transitive verbs producing subject-verb-object active non-reversible sentences. The treatment was undertaken in the context of current UK clinical practice.

Outcomes & Results: Statistical improvements were noted for the trained sets of verbs and sentences. Other improvements were also noted in LW’s ability to retrieve some non-treated verbs and construct written sentences. Treatment did not generalise to sentence comprehension and letter spelling to dictation.

Conclusions: Our participant’s ability to write verbs and sentences improved as a result of the treatment.

from Aphasiology

Un-total recall: Amnesics remember grammar, but not meaning of new sentences

from EurekAlert.org

Syntactic persistence is the tendency for speakers to produce sentences using similar grammatical patterns and rules of language as those they have used before. Although the way this occurs is not well understood, previous research has indicated that this effect may involve a specific aspect of memory function. Memory is made up of two components: declarative and procedural. Declarative memory is used in remembering events and facts. Procedural memory helps us to remember how to perform tasks, such as playing the piano or riding a bike. A recent study suggests that the common phrase, “it’s so easy, it’s like riding a bike” should perhaps be replaced with “it’s so easy, it’s like forming a sentence.”

The effects of auditory-visual vowel identification training on speech recognition under difficult listening conditions

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Purpose: The effective use of visual cues to speech provides benefit for adults with normal hearing in noisy environments and for adults with hearing loss in everyday communication. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a computer-based, auditory-visual vowel identification training program on sentence recognition under difficult listening conditions.

Method: Normal-hearing adults were trained and tested under auditory-visual conditions, in noise designed to simulate the effects of a hearing loss. After initial tests of vowel, word, and sentence recognition, one group of participants received training on identification of 10 American English vowels in CVC context. Another group of participants received no training. All participants were then retested on vowel, word, and sentence recognition.

Results: Improvements were seen for trained compared to untrained participants, in auditory-visual speech recognition under difficult listening conditions, for vowels in monosyllables, and keywords in sentences.

Conclusions: Results from this study suggest benefit may be gained from this computer-based auditory-visual vowel identification training method.

LIST and LINT: Sentences and numbers for quantifying speech understanding in severely impaired listeners for Flanders and the Netherlands

from the International Journal of Audiology

Abstract
A Dutch sentence test (LIST) and a Dutch number test (LINT) have been developed and validated for the accurate measurement of speech reception thresholds (SRT) in quiet and in noise with severely hearing-impaired individuals and cochlear implant recipients in Flanders and the Netherlands. The LIST consists of 35 lists of 10 sentences of equal known difficulty uttered by a female speaker; while the LINT consists of 400 numbers (1-100) by two male and two female speakers. Normative values were determined at fixed S/N ratios and using the adaptive method (Plomp & Mimpen, 1979), yielding identical results for SRT and slope. For the LIST, average fitted SRTs were 27.1 (0.9) dB SPL in quiet and -7.8 dB (0.2) SNR in noise. In addition, the LIST in noise displayed a steep discrimination function (17%/dB) and good reliability (within-subject standard deviation=1.2 dB). For the LINT average fitted SRTs in quiet were 20.7 (0.9) dB SPL and about -9.0 dB SNR in noise. Again, the slopes of the performance intensity functions were relatively steep, i.e. 8.5%/dB in quiet and 15.2%/dB in noise, suggesting that the LINT is accurate and efficient and thus capable of reflecting subtle changes in performance. First data with cochlear implanted subjects show that both LIST and LINT are feasible and are capable of mapping a large range of hearing disabilities.

“Il piccolo principe est allé”: Processing of Language Switches in Auditory Sentence Comprehension

from the Journal of Neuroscience

No abstract available.

Sensitivity to Syntactic Changes in Garden Path Sentences

from the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

Abstract The results of two text-change experiments are reported. The experiments were designed to investigate the syntactic representation of garden path sentences such as While the man hunted the deer that was brown and graceful ran into the woods, specifically the claim that a significant number of misinterpretations of such sentences are due to incomplete syntactic reanalysis (Christianson et al. Cogn Psychol 42:368–407, 2001). In the experiments reported here, the pronoun it was added (Expt. 1) or deleted (Expt. 2) from short texts containing such sentences. Participants were more or less likely to notice both deletions and additions of it in certain syntactic contexts, as predicted by the incomplete reanalysis account. Correlations with reading times support this interpretation of the results. Overall, the data are consistent with a “good enough” view of language processing (Ferreira et al. J Psycholinguist Res 30:3–20, 2001).

Repetition blindness in sentence contexts: not just an attribution?

from Memory and Cognition

Selective “blindness” to repeated words in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) occurs even when omitting these words compromises sentence syntax and meaning. The contributions of lexical and contextual factors to this repetition blindness (RB) phenomenon were evaluated using three tasks that combined RB and ambiguity resolution paradigms. During an RSVP sentence, a repeated word and matched but incongruous control were presented simultaneously, and participants were asked to report the entire sentence, including only the appropriate word. Substantial RB was evident in impaired report of repeated targets, whereas report of nonrepeated targets was enhanced when the distractor was a repeat. Experiment 2 confirmed these results with reduced reporting requirements, and Experiment 3 demonstrated the independence of repetition and sentence congruity effects. Results across all contexts support a lexical account of RB, which assumes that reactivation and identification of rapidly repeated words are impaired due to the refractory nature of lexical representations.

LIST and LINT: Sentences and numbers for quantifying speech understanding in severely impaired listeners for Flanders and the Netherlands

from the International Journal of Audiology

A Dutch sentence test (LIST) and a Dutch number test (LINT) have been developed and validated for the accurate measurement of speech reception thresholds (SRT) in quiet and in noise with severely hearing-impaired individuals and cochlear implant recipients in Flanders and the Netherlands. The LIST consists of 35 lists of 10 sentences of equal known difficulty uttered by a female speaker; while the LINT consists of 400 numbers (1-100) by two male and two female speakers. Normative values were determined at fixed S/N ratios and using the adaptive method (Plomp & Mimpen, 1979), yielding identical results for SRT and slope. For the LIST, average fitted SRTs were 27.1 (0.9) dB SPL in quiet and -7.8 dB (0.2) SNR in noise. In addition, the LIST in noise displayed a steep discrimination function (17%/dB) and good reliability (within-subject standard deviation=1.2 dB). For the LINT average fitted SRTs in quiet were 20.7 (0.9) dB SPL and about -9.0 dB SNR in noise. Again, the slopes of the performance intensity functions were relatively steep, i.e. 8.5%/dB in quiet and 15.2%/dB in noise, suggesting that the LINT is accurate and efficient and thus capable of reflecting subtle changes in performance. First data with cochlear implanted subjects show that both LIST and LINT are feasible and are capable of mapping a large range of hearing disabilities.

The development of an automated sentence generator for the assessment of reading speed

from Behavioral and Brain Functions

Reading speed is an important outcome measure for many studies in neuroscience and psychology. Conventional reading speed tests have a limited corpus of sentences and usually require observers to read sentences aloud. Here we describe an automated sentence generator which can create over 100,000 unique sentences, scored using a true/false response. We propose that an estimate of the minimum exposure time required for observers to categorise the truth of such sentences is a good alternative to reading speed measures that guarantees comprehension of the printed material. Removing one word from the sentence reduces performance to chance, indicating minimal redundancy. Reading speed assessed using rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of these sentences is not statistically different from using MNREAD sentences. The automated sentence generator would be useful for measuring reading speed with button-press response (such as within MRI scanners) and for studies requiring many repeated measures of reading speed.

When hearsay trumps evidence: How generic language guides preschoolers’ inferences about unfamiliar things

from Language and Cognitive Processes

Two experiments investigated 4-year-olds’ use of descriptive sentences to learn non-obvious properties of unfamiliar kinds. Novel creatures were described using generic or nongeneric sentences (e.g., These are pagons. Pagons/These pagons are friendly). Children’s willingness to extend the described property to a new category member was then measured. The results of Experiment 1 demonstrated that children reliably extended the property to new instances after hearing generic but not nongeneric sentences. Further, the influence of generic language was much greater than effects related to the amount of tangible evidence provided (the number of creatures bearing the critical property). Experiment 2 revealed that children continued to extend properties mentioned in generic descriptions even when incompatible evidence was presented (e.g., an example of an unfriendly ‘pagon’). The findings underscore preschoolers’ keen understanding of the semantics of generic sentences and suggest that inferences based on generics are more robust than those based on observationally grounded evidence.

The development of sentence interpretation: effects of perceptual, attentional and semantic interference

from Developmental Science

How does the development and consolidation of perceptual, attentional, and higher cognitive abilities interact with language acquisition and processing? We explored children’s (ages 5–17) and adults’ (ages 18–51) comprehension of morphosyntactically varied sentences under several competing speech conditions that varied in the degree of attentional demands, auditory masking, and semantic interference. We also evaluated the relationship between subjects’ syntactic comprehension and their word reading efficiency and general ‘speed of processing’. We found that the interactions between perceptual and attentional processes and complex sentence interpretation changed considerably over the course of development. Perceptual masking of the speech signal had an early and lasting impact on comprehension, particularly for more complex sentence structures. In contrast, increased attentional demand in the absence of energetic auditory masking primarily affected younger children’s comprehension of difficult sentence types. Finally, the predictability of syntactic comprehension abilities by external measures of development and expertise is contingent upon the perceptual, attentional, and semantic milieu in which language processing takes place.

Verb and sentence processing in Norwegian aphasic speakers compared to Dutch and English aphasic speakers: experimental evidence

from Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics

The article reports on a comparative study of the abilities of aphasic speakers and normal control subjects to comprehend and produce verbs and sentences. The analysis is based on test results obtained as part of the standardization procedure for a test battery originally developed for Dutch and since translated and adapted for English and Norwegian. With a few exceptions, there is extensive similarity in the test results between the different languages. The exceptions can be accounted for with reference both to structural differences between the languages and to coincidental aspects of informant selection and scoring procedures. The Norwegian version contains an additional sub-test on past tense inflection, which correlates significantly with at least two other sub-tests in the test battery.

Exploration of Lexical-Semantic Factors Affecting Stress Production in Derived Words

from Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools

Purpose: This study examined whether lexical frequency, semantic knowledge, or sentence context affect children’s production of primary stress in derived words with stress-changing suffixes (e.g., -ity ). Method: Thirty children (M<sub>age</sub> = 9;1 [years;months]) produced a limited set of high-frequency (HF) and low-frequency (LF) derived words formed with stress-changing suffixes (e.g., -ity ). Half of the children produced the derived words in a sentence context. The other half produced words in isolation. Semantic knowledge of the derived words was also assessed. Results: Primary stress was produced more accurately in HF words than in LF words. HF words produced in a sentence context were more accurate than all LF words and HF words produced in isolation. Both knowing a word’s meaning and accurately producing stress was more likely for HF words than for LF words. A substantial minority of derived words (36%) was either known semantically or produced correctly, but not both. Conclusion: Accurate morphophonological production may involve semantic and frequency factors, but those factors alone do not explain all of the results. This study isolates several important factors that may be useful when choosing derived word stimuli. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]