The overarching goal of this project is to develop effective language treatment protocols for individuals with stroke-induced agrammatic aphasia. Building on theories of linguistic representation and the neurocognitive mechanisms of sentence processing in healthy speakers, this project investigates the processes that support sentence production and comprehension (and treatment-induced recovery) in agrammatic aphasia, using a series of online processing experiments as well as an experimental treatment study. This project uses primarily online methods to examine thematic integration processes in sentence production and comprehension. Thematic integration is the incremental mapping between thematic roles (e.g., Agent, Theme) and sentence constituents (e.g., subject, object) ? i.e., the processes of comprehending or expressing ?who did what to whom.? These processes are essential for successful sentence production and comprehension but appear to be impaired in agrammatic aphasia. A series of four sentence comprehension experiments, using eyetracking and ERP, test the hypothesis that impaired thematic prediction contributes to impairments in thematic role assignment and sentence comprehension accuracy. Four sentence production experiments, using eyetracking and priming paradigms, examine the effects of impaired thematic planning processes on sentence production ability. Studies also examine the relation between comprehension and production abilities, testing the hypothesis that thematic integration deficits are seen across domains in agrammatic aphasia. Further, an experimental treatment study compares the effectiveness of two novel extensions of Treatment of Underlying Forms (TUF; Thompson & Shapiro, 2005), which train thematic integration using a TUF-Structural approach, which emphasizes verb-based structural processing and a TUF- Word approach, focused on word-by-word incremental processing. Consistent with previous work, both versions of TUF are expected to support improved sentence production, including generalization to simpler linguistically-related structures; however, TUF-Word is expected to foster stronger gains in comprehension, due to its emphasis on training incremental (word-by-word) thematic processing. In addition, this project investigates the neurocognitive mechanisms of treatment-induced language recovery using eyetracking and sentence production paradigms, as well as the effects of language treatment on functional communication ability. The results of this work will contribute to the understanding of sentence processing in aphasia and in healthy adults, the factors that contribute to effective treatment for sentence-level impairments, as well as the neurocognitive mechanisms of treatment-induced recovery in agrammatic aphasia.

Public Health Relevance

The purpose of this project is to develop effective language treatment protocols for individuals with stroke- induced agrammatic aphasia, which is characterized by impaired sentence production and comprehension. The processes that support sentence production and comprehension are investigated in order to identify potential treatment targets and approaches. These treatment approaches are developed and tested, examining patterns of learning and generalization as well as the processing mechanisms that support recovery in agrammatic aphasia.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
2R01DC001948-20A1
Application #
9237813
Study Section
Language and Communication Study Section (LCOM)
Program Officer
Cooper, Judith
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
20
Fiscal Year
2017
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Northwestern University at Chicago
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
160079455
City
Evanston
State
IL
Country
United States
Zip Code
60201
Mack, Jennifer E; Wei, Andrew Zu-Sern; Gutierrez, Stephanie et al. (2016) Tracking sentence comprehension: Test-retest reliability in people with aphasia and unimpaired adults. J Neurolinguistics 40:98-111
Wang, Honglei; Thompson, Cynthia K (2016) Assessing Syntactic Deficits in Chinese Broca's aphasia using the Northwestern Assessment of Verbs and Sentences-Chinese (NAVS-C). Aphasiology 30:815-840
Lee, Jiyeon; Thompson, Cynthia K (2015) Phonological facilitation effects on naming latencies and viewing times during noun and verb naming in agrammatic and anomic aphasia. Aphasiology 29:1164-1188
Mesulam, M-Marsel; Thompson, Cynthia K; Weintraub, Sandra et al. (2015) The Wernicke conundrum and the anatomy of language comprehension in primary progressive aphasia. Brain 138:2423-37
Riley, Ellyn A; Thompson, Cynthia K (2015) Training Pseudoword Reading in Acquired Dyslexia: A Phonological Complexity Approach. Aphasiology 29:129-150
Meltzer-Asscher, Aya; Mack, Jennifer E; Barbieri, Elena et al. (2015) How the brain processes different dimensions of argument structure complexity: evidence from fMRI. Brain Lang 142:65-75
Mack, Jennifer E; Chandler, Sarah D; Meltzer-Asscher, Aya et al. (2015) What do pauses in narrative production reveal about the nature of word retrieval deficits in PPA? Neuropsychologia 77:211-22
Lee, Jiyeon; Yoshida, Masaya; Thompson, Cynthia K (2015) Grammatical Planning Units During Real-Time Sentence Production in Speakers With Agrammatic Aphasia and Healthy Speakers. J Speech Lang Hear Res 58:1182-94
Schuchard, Julia; Thompson, Cynthia K (2014) Implicit and explicit learning in individuals with agrammatic aphasia. J Psycholinguist Res 43:209-24
Mesulam, M-Marsel; Rogalski, Emily J; Wieneke, Christina et al. (2014) Primary progressive aphasia and the evolving neurology of the language network. Nat Rev Neurol 10:554-69

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