Reading and listening in people with aphasia: Effects of syntactic complexity

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12 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare online effects of syntactic complexity in written and spoken sentence comprehension in people with aphasia (PWA) and adults with no brain damage (NBD). Method: The participants in Experiment 1 were NBD older and younger adults (n = 20 per group). The participants in Experiment 2 were 10 PWA. In both experiments, the participants read and listened to sentences in self-paced reading and listening tasks. The experimental materials consisted of object cleft sentences (e.g., It was the girl who the boy hugged.) and subject cleft sentences (e.g., It was the boy who hugged the girl.). Results: The predicted effects of syntactic complexity were observed in both Experiments 1 and 2: Reading and listening times were longer for the verb in sentences with object compared to subject relative clauses. The NBD controls showed exaggerated effects of syntactic complexity in reading compared to listening. The PWA did not show different modality effects from the NBD participants. Conclusion: Although effects of syntactic complexity were somewhat exaggerated in reading compared with listening, both the PWA and the NBD controls showed similar effects in both modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-590
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013



  • Aging
  • Aphasia
  • Auditory comprehension
  • Listening comprehension
  • Reading comprehension
  • Sentence comprehension
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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