Effects of lexical variables on silent reading comprehension in individuals with aphasia: Evidence from eye tracking

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Purpose: Previous eye-tracking research has suggested that individuals with aphasia (IWA) do not assign syntactic structure on their first pass through a sentence during silent reading comprehension. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the time course with which lexical variables affect silent reading comprehension in IWA. Three lexical variables were investigated: word frequency, word class, and word length. Methods: IWA and control participants without brain damage participated in the experiment. Participants read sentences while a camera tracked their eye movements. Results: IWA showed effects of word class, word length, and word frequency that were similar to or greater than those observed in controls. Conclusions: IWA showed sensitivity to lexical variables on the first pass through the sentence. The results are consistent with the view that IWA focus on lexical access on their first pass through a sentence and then work to build syntactic structure on subsequent passes. In addition, IWA showed very long rereading times and low skipping rates overall, which may contribute to some of the group differences in reading comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2589-2602
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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