This program of research continues our long-standing effort to detail the moment-by-moment unfolding of sentence processing and its relation to the brain. Our results from neurologically-intact individuals have previously shed light on the functional architecture of the sentence processing system, securing a strong base on which to investigate brain-language relations through the study of aphasia. Sentence processing experiments have typically used different sentence types as a means to examine underlying operations. These constructions have been characterized as canonical and simple in the language of interest (in English, Subject-Verb-Object), or non-canonical and complex, often containing displaced constituents that yield, for example, Object-Subject-Verb word order in English. The goal has been to illuminate processes underlying normal comprehension, and how these go awry in aphasia. In this proposal we intend to use sentences which are not so easily divisible into these categories. We plan to use sentences that contain ellipsis, forms in which a part is missing but whose meaning can be readily reconstructed by syntactic and semantic considerations. The use of ellipsis as a tool in experimental psycholinguistic research has recently been on the rise. Here it is brought to neuropsychology in a systematic way with the potential that it will be instrumental in examining key issues and new questions that we have discovered during our previous work. Our methods range from on- to off-line analyses, and we strive to connect the two. We also seek to obtain precise measurements of lesion size, shape and position through high-resolution MR scans. This part of our effort is intended to help us understand the role that Broca's and Wernicke's regions play in language behavior through the use of detailed probability maps based on cytoarchitectonics.
Our specific aims, then, are: 1. To chart the moment-by-moment temporal unfolding of sentence processing, from on- through off-line interpretation, and to discover the relation between the two. 2. To examine the relation between these processes and neural tissue through the study of aphasia and lesion analyses. 3. To assess the empirical adequacy of theories on the brain bases of sentence processing.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-C (02))
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Cooper, Judith
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San Diego State University
Other Health Professions
Schools of Allied Health Profes
San Diego
United States
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Sullivan, Natalie; Walenski, Matthew; Love, Tracy et al. (2017) The comprehension of sentences with unaccusative verbs in aphasia: a test of the intervener hypothesis. Aphasiology 31:67-81
Sheppard, Shannon M; Walenski, Matthew; Love, Tracy et al. (2015) The Auditory Comprehension of Wh-Questions in Aphasia: Support for the Intervener Hypothesis. J Speech Lang Hear Res 58:781-97
Ferrill, Michelle; Love, Tracy; Walenski, Matthew et al. (2012) The time-course of lexical activation during sentence comprehension in people with aphasia. Am J Speech Lang Pathol 21:S179-89
Santi, Andrea; Grodzinsky, Yosef (2012) Broca's area and sentence comprehension: a relationship parasitic on dependency, displacement or predictability? Neuropsychologia 50:821-32
Poirier, Josee; Walenski, Matthew; Shapiro, Lewis P (2012) The role of parallelism in the real-time processing of anaphora. Lang Cogn Process 27:868-886
Brumm, Kathleen P; Perthen, Joanna E; Liu, Thomas T et al. (2010) An arterial spin labeling investigation of cerebral blood flow deficits in chronic stroke survivors. Neuroimage 51:995-1005
Poirier, Josee; Wolfinger, Katie; Spellman, Lisa et al. (2010) The real-time processing of sluiced sentences. J Psycholinguist Res 39:411-27
Brumm, Kathleen; Walenski, Matthew; Haist, Frank et al. (2010) Functional magnetic resonance imaging of a child with Alice in Wonderland syndrome during an episode of micropsia. J AAPOS 14:317-22
Santi, Andrea; Grodzinsky, Yosef (2010) fMRI adaptation dissociates syntactic complexity dimensions. Neuroimage 51:1285-93
Callahan, Sarah M; Shapiro, Lewis P; Love, Tracy (2010) Parallelism effects and verb activation: the sustained reactivation hypothesis. J Psycholinguist Res 39:101-18

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