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Title: Determiner primes as facilitators of lexical retrieval in healthy speakers and individuals with aphasia
Author: Gregory, Emma Joanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 4511
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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Background Assessment and intervention for word finding deficits in aphasia address lexical retrieval in isolation from syntactic processing. Theories in linguistics and psycholinguistics, however, are increasingly adopting a more integrated approach to lexical and syntactic processing. Prominent models of spoken word production suggest that syntactic information relating to nouns is represented within the lexical architecture. Activation of such syntactic information may influence noun production. Only a small number of studies have explored the inf1uence of syntax on noun production in English. Even fewer studies have explored the influence of syntactic cues on noun production in aphasia. Aims & Methods The study included two phases: a normative phase and a therapy study. The aim of the first phase was to investigate the effects of different syntactic primes on naming accuracy and reaction times in healthy speakers. In a series of three experiments, participants named pictures of mass and count nouns following exposure to phrasal or clausal primes. The implications for models of spoken word production were considered. The data from the normative phase informed the construction of a syntactic cueing assessment and therapy program for word-finding in aphasia. The aims of this phase were to explore the effect of syntactic cues on immediate and longer-term naming and noun production in connected speech for three individuals with aphasia. Outcomes and Results Experiments I and 2 showed facilitation of noun production for healthy speakers following exposure to determiners which frequently paired with target nouns. Experiment 3 also demonstrated speeded naming following primes containing determiners. These effects were most marked when the determiner was presented within a clause. Findings from the aphasia case studies showed facilitation of immediate naming following syntactic cues for two individuals with aphasia. The pattern observed mirrored the results from healthy speakers. Following therapy, all three participants showed gains for words treated in picture naming. Improvements in untreated words 2 were observed for one participant. Two participants showed improved noun production in connected speech. Conclusion Evidence from both healthy speakers and individuals with aphasia indicates that lexical and syntactic processes interact in noun production. Models of spoken word production need to account for the influence of syntax on single word processing. It is possible that anomia therapies which target lexical and syntactic structures together increase the likelihood of generalization of therapy effects to untreated words and to noun production in connected speech.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available