You are here: Home Publications Agrammatic comprehension: An electrophysiological approach

Agrammatic comprehension: An electrophysiological approach

Wassenaar, M. (2005). Agrammatic comprehension: An electrophysiological approach. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
This dissertation focuses on syntactic comprehension problems in patients with Broca's aphasia from an electrophysiological perspective. The central objective of this dissertation was to further explore what syntax-related event-related brain potential (ERP) effects can reveal about the nature of the deficit that underlies syntactic comprehension problems in patients with Broca's aphasia. Chapter two to four describe experiments in which event-related brain potentials were recorded while subjects (Broca patients, non-aphasic patients with a right-hemisphere lesion, and healthy elderly controls) were presented with sentences that contained either violations of syntactic constraints or were syntactically correct. Chapter two investigates ERP effects of subject-verb agreement violations in the different subject groups, and seeks to answer the following questions: Do agrammatic comprehenders show sensitivity to subject-verb agreement violations as indicated by a syntax-related ERP effect? In addition, does the severity of the syntactic comprehension impairment in the Broca patients affect the ERP responses? Chapter three describes an investigation of whether Broca patients show sensitivity to violations of word order as indicated by a syntax-related ERP effect, and whether the ERP responses in the Broca patients are affected by the severity of their syntactic comprehension impairment. Chapter four reports on ERP effects of violations of word-category. In addition, also a semantic violation condition was added to track possible dissociations in the sensitivity to semantic and syntactic information in the Broca patients. Chapter five describes the development of a paradigm in which the electrophysiological approach and the classical sentence-picture matching approach are combined. In this chapter, the ERP method is applied to study on-line thematic role assignment in Broca patients during sentence-picture matching. Also the relation between ERP effects and behavioral responses is pursued. Finally, Chapter 6 provides a summary of the main findings of the experiments and a general discussion.

Supplementary materials

About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn