The efficacy of a linguistic-specific approach for treatment of sentence production deficits in agrammatic, Broca's aphasic patients who evince difficulty with producing (and comprehending) """"""""complex"""""""" sentences -- sentences where noun phrases (NPs) have been moved out of their canonical positions is examined in this research. In consideration of aspects of theoretical linguistics (i.e., Government Binding theory (Chomsky, 1981, 1986)) and the linguistic, psycholinguistic, and neurolinguistic literature on sentence processing, this treatment was designed explicitly for training complex sentences by controlling linguistic properties known to underlie sentence formation and by emphasizing linguistic principles used across different sentence types. Exploiting the underlying linguistic representation of sentences, subjects will be trained to appreciate the thematic role assignments of sentential NPs and to operate the required movement to eventually derive surface forms of Wh questions, object clefts, and passive sentences (i.e., considering """"""""Move Alpha"""""""" rules -- either Wh- or Np-Movement (Chomsky, 1981)). In a series of experiments, single- subject experimental designs are utilized to study the relation among trained and untrained sentences while carefully controlling lexical and syntactic properties. The following experimental questions are posed: 1) Does treatment of particular Wh-movement structures (e.g., """"""""What"""""""" questions) result in generalized production of untrained structures relying on similar Wh-movement (e.g., """"""""Who"""""""" questions)?; 2) does treatment of sentences derived from Wh-movement (e.g., Wh-questions) generalize to untrained sentences (e.g., object clefts) that are very different in their surface realizations, yet are also derived from Wh-movement?; 3) does training structures derived from Wh-movement generalize to untrained structures derived from NP-movement, and vice versa?; 4) does generalization from more to less complex sentences relying on either Np- or Wh-movement result from this training (with complexity defined in terms of the number of NPs in the surface form of sentences and in terms of the inherent complexity of the verb's representation)?; 5) does treatment affect aspects of spontaneous discourse?; 6) does production treatment influence comprehension?; and (7) how does 'linguistic-specific' treatment compare with other treatments for sentence production deficits? This research will potentially result in new and efficacious treatment for aphasic individuals with sentence production deficits. If our hypotheses are correct concerning the need to consider the underlying representation of aberrantly produced sentences, then generalization across sentences relying on the same mechanisms but with different surface forms should be noted. Further, the extent to which learning and generalization patterns follow predictions made based on linguistic theory, will provide information concerning the value of such theories for predicting breakdown and recovery patterns in aphasia.

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
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Sensory Disorders and Language Study Section (CMS)
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Cooper, Judith
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Northwestern University at Chicago
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Schools of Arts and Sciences
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Mack, Jennifer E; Thompson, Cynthia K (2017) Recovery of Online Sentence Processing in Aphasia: Eye Movement Changes Resulting From Treatment of Underlying Forms. J Speech Lang Hear Res 60:1299-1315
Mack, Jennifer E; Nerantzini, Michaela; Thompson, Cynthia K (2017) Recovery of Sentence Production Processes Following Language Treatment in Aphasia: Evidence from Eyetracking. Front Hum Neurosci 11:101
Schuchard, Julia; Thompson, Cynthia K (2017) Sequential learning in individuals with agrammatic aphasia: evidence from artificial grammar learning. J Cogn Psychol (Hove) 29:521-534
Schuchard, Julia; Nerantzini, Michaela; Thompson, Cynthia K (2017) Implicit learning and implicit treatment outcomes in individuals with aphasia. Aphasiology 31:25-48
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
Cho-Reyes, Soojin; Mack, Jennifer E; Thompson, Cynthia K (2016) Grammatical Encoding and Learning in Agrammatic Aphasia: Evidence from Structural Priming. J Mem Lang 91:202-218
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
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
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

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