The Auditory Comprehension of Wh-Questions in Aphasia: Support for the Intervener Hypothesis Purpose This study examines 3 hypotheses about the processing of wh-questions in both neurologically healthy adults and adults with Broca's aphasia. Method We used an eye tracking while listening method with 32 unimpaired participants (Experiment 1) and 8 participants with Broca's aphasia (Experiment 2). Accuracy, response time, and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2015
The Auditory Comprehension of Wh-Questions in Aphasia: Support for the Intervener Hypothesis
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shannon M. Sheppard
    San Diego State University, CA
    University of California, San Diego, CA
  • Matthew Walenski
    San Diego State University, CA
  • Tracy Love
    San Diego State University, CA
    University of California, San Diego, CA
  • Lewis P. Shapiro
    San Diego State University, CA
    University of California, San Diego, CA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Shannon M. Sheppard: SBM.Sheppard@gmail.com
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson
    Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson×
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2015
The Auditory Comprehension of Wh-Questions in Aphasia: Support for the Intervener Hypothesis
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 781-797. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0099
History: Received April 9, 2014 , Revised July 8, 2014 , Accepted January 10, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 781-797. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0099
History: Received April 9, 2014; Revised July 8, 2014; Accepted January 10, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose This study examines 3 hypotheses about the processing of wh-questions in both neurologically healthy adults and adults with Broca's aphasia.

Method We used an eye tracking while listening method with 32 unimpaired participants (Experiment 1) and 8 participants with Broca's aphasia (Experiment 2). Accuracy, response time, and online gaze data were collected.

Results In Experiment 1, we established a baseline for how unimpaired processing and comprehension of 4 types of wh-question (subject- and object-extracted who- and which-questions) manifest. There was no unambiguous support found for any of the 3 hypotheses in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2 with the Broca's participants, however, we found significantly lower accuracy, slower response times, and increased interference in our gaze data in the object-extracted which-questions relative to the other conditions.

Conclusions Our results provide support for the intervener hypothesis, which states that sentence constructions that contain an intervener (a lexical noun phrase) between a displaced noun phrase and its gap site result in a significant processing disadvantage relative to other constructions. We argue that this hypothesis offers a compelling explanation for the comprehension deficits seen in some participants with Broca's aphasia.

Acknowledgments
The work reported in this article was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R01DC009272 (awarded to Tracy Love and Lewis P. Shapiro), R01DC000494 (awarded to Lewis P. Shapiro), and T32DC007361 (awarded to Lewis P. Shapiro). We thank our research assistants and our participants and their families for their time.
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