The Role of Syntactic Complexity in Treatment of Sentence Deficits in Agrammatic Aphasia The Complexity Account of Treatment Efficacy (CATE) Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2003
The Role of Syntactic Complexity in Treatment of Sentence Deficits in Agrammatic Aphasia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Cynthia K. Thompson
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Lewis P. Shapiro
    San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego
  • Swathi Kiran
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Jana Sobecks
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Dr. Cynthia Thompson, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208-3540. E-mail: ckthom@northwestern.edu
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2003
The Role of Syntactic Complexity in Treatment of Sentence Deficits in Agrammatic Aphasia
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2003, Vol. 46, 591-607. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/047)
History: Received August 24, 2002 , Accepted January 9, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2003, Vol. 46, 591-607. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/047)
History: Received August 24, 2002; Accepted January 9, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 96

This experiment examined the hypothesis that training production of syntactically complex sentences results in generalization to less complex sentences that have processes in common with treated structures. Using a single subject experimental design, 4 individuals with agrammatic aphasia were trained to comprehend and produce filler-gap sentences with wh-movement, including, from least to most complex, object-extracted who-questions, object clefts, and sentences with objectrelative clausal embedding. Two participants received treatment first on the least complex structure (who-questions), and 2 received treatment first on the most complex form (object-relative constructions), while untrained sentences and narrative language samples were tested for generalization. When generalization did not occur across structures, each was successively entered into treatment. Results showed no generalization across sentence types when who-questions were trained; however, as predicted, object-relative training resulted in robust generalization to both object clefts and who-questions. These findings support those derived from previous work, indicating not only that generalization occurs across structures that are linguistically related, but also that generalization is enhanced when the direction of treatment is from more complex to less complex constructions. This latter finding supports the authors' newly coined "complexity account of treatment efficacy" (CATE).

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the National Institute of Health Grant R01-DC01948 01-14. The authors thank Kirrie Ballard, Naomi Hashimoto, and Yasmeen Faroqi-Shah for their assistance with data collection and analysis, and Michael W. Dickey, Miseon Lee, and Steven Fix for their comments on presubmission versions of this article.
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