Our research program proposes to chart the unfolding of language comprehension in unimpaired adults as well as in adults with aphasia secondary to stroke. We begin with the position that sentence comprehension is rooted in cognitive and neurobiological architectures that are likely to be constrained by various real-time processing demands under 'normal'operations. In this revised proposal we focus on lexical and structural processing routines with the major comparison of interest being between regular and slowed rates of speech. We slow rate of speech input to a rate just outside the normal range of 4 to 6 syllables per second and examine how the language comprehension process is modified in neurologically intact and compromised individuals. Our purpose in doing so is to uncover properties of language comprehension that might not be apparent under normal time constraints, and to reveal the intricacies of the comprehension deficit, in particular, in Broca's aphasia. For example, we hypothesize that the functional deficit observed under normal input conditions may be reduced under slow input conditions. We combine evidence from lesion-behavior analyses, functional neuroimaging and functional connectivity to better define which regions are actively recruited during sentence processing as well as to shed light on the functional commitment of specific brain regions to aspects of sentence comprehension. We anticipate that our work will have important implications for rehabilitation efforts in aphasia.

Public Health Relevance

: Aphasia, a language disorder caused by stroke, has enormous physical, emotional, and financial consequences for those individuals and families affected. It is estimated that there are approximately 1,000,000 individuals in the United States who have aphasia. This project seeks to uncover the details of the language deficit in aphasia through behavioral and brain mapping techniques, with implications for rehabilitation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-L (02))
Program Officer
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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Sheppard, Shannon M; Midgley, Katherine J; Love, Tracy et al. (2018) Electrophysiological evidence for the interaction of prosody and thematic fit during sentence comprehension. Lang Cogn Neurosci 33:547-562
Engel, Samantha; Shapiro, Lewis P; Love, Tracy (2018) Proform-Antecedent Linking in Individuals with Agrammatic Aphasia: A Test of the Intervener Hypothesis. J Neurolinguistics 45:79-94
Sullivan, Natalie; Walenski, Matthew; Love, Tracy et al. (2017) The curious case of processing unaccusative verbs in aphasia. Aphasiology 31:1205-1225
Walenski, Matthew; Love, Tracy (2017) The Real-Time Comprehension of Idioms by Typical Children, Children with Specific Language Impairment and Children with Autism. J Speech Pathol Ther 3:
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
Hendrickson, Kristi; Walenski, Matthew; Friend, Margaret et al. (2015) The organization of words and environmental sounds in memory. Neuropsychologia 69:67-76
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
Rogalsky, Corianne; Poppa, Tasha; Chen, Kuan-Hua et al. (2015) Speech repetition as a window on the neurobiology of auditory-motor integration for speech: A voxel-based lesion symptom mapping study. Neuropsychologia 71:18-27
Callahan, Sarah M; Walenski, Matthew; Love, Tracy (2012) The processing and interpretation of verb phrase ellipsis constructions by children at normal and slowed speech rates. J Speech Lang Hear Res 55:710-25
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

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