Automated Proposition Density Analysis for Discourse in Aphasia Purpose This study evaluates how proposition density can differentiate between persons with aphasia (PWA) and individuals in a control group, as well as among subtypes of aphasia, on the basis of procedural discourse and personal narratives collected from large samples of participants. Method Participants were 195 PWA and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
Automated Proposition Density Analysis for Discourse in Aphasia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Davida Fromm
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Joel Greenhouse
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Kaiyue Hou
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • G. Austin Russell
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Xizhen Cai
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Margaret Forbes
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Audrey Holland
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Brian MacWhinney
    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 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 Davida Fromm: fromm@andrew.cmu.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Margaret Blake
    Associate Editor: Margaret Blake×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Aphasia / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
Automated Proposition Density Analysis for Discourse in Aphasia
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1123-1132. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0401
History: Received November 20, 2015 , Revised January 29, 2016 , Accepted March 7, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1123-1132. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0401
History: Received November 20, 2015; Revised January 29, 2016; Accepted March 7, 2016

Purpose This study evaluates how proposition density can differentiate between persons with aphasia (PWA) and individuals in a control group, as well as among subtypes of aphasia, on the basis of procedural discourse and personal narratives collected from large samples of participants.

Method Participants were 195 PWA and 168 individuals in a control group from the AphasiaBank database. PWA represented 6 aphasia types on the basis of the Western Aphasia Battery–Revised (Kertesz, 2006). Narrative samples were stroke stories for PWA and illness or injury stories for individuals in the control group. Procedural samples were from the peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich task. Language samples were transcribed using Codes for the Human Analysis of Transcripts (MacWhinney, 2000) and analyzed using Computerized Language Analysis (MacWhinney, 2000), which automatically computes proposition density (PD) using rules developed for automatic PD measurement by the Computerized Propositional Idea Density Rater program (Brown, Snodgrass, & Covington, 2007; Covington, 2007).

Results Participants in the control group scored significantly higher than PWA on both tasks. PD scores were significantly different among the aphasia types for both tasks. Pairwise comparisons for both discourse tasks revealed that PD scores for the Broca's group were significantly lower than those for all groups except Transcortical Motor. No significant quadratic or linear association between PD and severity was found.

Conclusion Proposition density is differentially sensitive to aphasia type and most clearly differentiates individuals with Broca's aphasia from the other groups.

Acknowledgment
This work was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01-DC008524 (2012–2017), awarded to Brian MacWhinney.
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