Events

The production and the comprehension of syntactically complex sentences is impaired in aphasia. For example, both Wh-movement sentences (such as object-extracted relative clauses) and NP-movement sentences (such as passives) elicit chance performance by adults with aphasia in off-line comprehension tasks like sentence-picture matching. However, it remains unclear how exactly impaired adults try (and often fail) to comprehend such sentences in real time. This talk reviews evidence from a series of studies examining the real-time comprehension of both simple sentences (Sung, et al., 2009, 2011) and complex sentences (Dickey & Thompson, 2004, 2009; Dickey, et al, 2007) by adults with aphasia. The evidence suggests that significant residual capacity for syntactic processing remains following brain-damage, capacity which may go undetected using traditional off-line methods. Furthermore, this intact capacity may be what underlies successful response to language treatment targeting complex sentences (Dickey & Thompson, 2007). Language treatment which directly stimulates aphasic adults' capacity to use this residual ability has significant evidence of efficacy, and tasks which tap this ability may be useful in predicting treatment ouctomes in aphasia (Dickey & Yoo, 2010).