Morphosyntactic Production and Verbal Working Memory: Evidence From Greek Aphasia and Healthy Aging Purpose The present work investigated whether verbal working memory (WM) affects morphosyntactic production in configurations that do not involve or favor similarity-based interference and whether WM interacts with verb-related morphosyntactic categories and/or cue–target distance (locality). It also explored whether the findings related to the questions above lend support to a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 17, 2018
Morphosyntactic Production and Verbal Working Memory: Evidence From Greek Aphasia and Healthy Aging
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Valantis Fyndanis
    MultiLing/Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo, Norway
    Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Giorgio Arcara
    San Camillo Hospital IRCCS, Venice, Italy
  • Paraskevi Christidou
    Evexia Rehabilitation Center, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • David Caplan
    Neuropsychology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • 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 Valantis Fyndanis: valantis.fyndanis@iln.uio.no
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Swathi Kiran
    Editor: Swathi Kiran×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Older Adults & Aging / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 17, 2018
Morphosyntactic Production and Verbal Working Memory: Evidence From Greek Aphasia and Healthy Aging
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2018, Vol. 61, 1171-1187. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0103
History: Received March 21, 2017 , Revised November 2, 2017 , Accepted December 22, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2018, Vol. 61, 1171-1187. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0103
History: Received March 21, 2017; Revised November 2, 2017; Accepted December 22, 2017

Purpose The present work investigated whether verbal working memory (WM) affects morphosyntactic production in configurations that do not involve or favor similarity-based interference and whether WM interacts with verb-related morphosyntactic categories and/or cue–target distance (locality). It also explored whether the findings related to the questions above lend support to a recent account of agrammatic morphosyntactic production: Interpretable Features' Impairment Hypothesis (Fyndanis, Varlokosta, & Tsapkini, 2012).

Method A sentence completion task testing production of subject–verb agreement, tense/time reference, and aspect in local and nonlocal conditions and two verbal WM tasks were administered to 8 Greek-speaking persons with agrammatic aphasia (PWA) and 103 healthy participants.

Results The 3 morphosyntactic categories dissociated in both groups (agreement > tense > aspect). A significant interaction emerged in both groups between the 3 morphosyntactic categories and WM. There was no main effect of locality in either of the 2 groups. At the individual level, all 8 PWA exhibited dissociations between agreement, tense, and aspect, and effects of locality were contradictory.

Conclusions Results suggest that individuals with WM limitations (both PWA and healthy older speakers) show dissociations between the production of verb-related morphosyntactic categories. WM affects performance shaping the pattern of morphosyntactic production (in Greek: subject–verb agreement > tense > aspect). The absence of an effect of locality suggests that executive capacities tapped by WM tasks are involved in morphosyntactic processing of demanding categories even when the cue is adjacent to the target. Results are consistent with the Interpretable Features' Impairment Hypothesis (Fyndanis et al., 2012).

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.6024428

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship (awarded to the first author) within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (Project Reference 329795) and by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme (Project 223265).
We are grateful to all individuals who took part in this study. We also thank Pola Drakopoulou, Irene Choudala, and Eva-Maria Tsapakis for contributing to data collection; Fabiana Galiussi for helping with data transcription and analysis; and Artemis Alexiadou, Frank Burchert, Kleanthes Grohmann, Michaela Nerantzini, Neal Pearlmutter, Charalambos Themistocleous, Maria Varkanitsa, Spyridoula Varlokosta, and Isabell Wartenburger for their useful suggestions and comments. Last but not least, many thanks go to the audiences of the following conferences, workshops, and seminars, where earlier versions of this work were presented: 51st Academy of Aphasia Annual Meeting (Lucerne, Switzerland), 31st European Workshop on Cognitive Neuropsychology (Bressanone, Italy), 11th International Conference on Greek Linguistics (Rhodes, Greece), Mind, Brain & Body Symposium (Berlin, Germany), 5th Conference on Language Disorders (Limassol, Cyprus), European Master in Clinical Linguistics guest speaker seminar (Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany), Neurolinguistics Colloquium (Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany).
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