The effects of verb argument structure on verb processing complexity in aphasia
The project investigated how verb processing complexity in aphasia is affected by verb argument structure (such as the number of arguments: cf. one-argument verbs, such as 'to jog' or 'to laugh', vs. two-argument verbs, such as 'to read' or 'to hold'). Traditionally, verbs with more complex argument structure have been considered to present a greater difficulty for people with aphasia. However, we hypothesized that the relation might not be so straightforward. We expected that although more linguistically complex argument structure may hinder grammatical verb use in sentences, it may paradoxically help to lexically retrieve a single verb, thanks to richer connections to other words in the mental lexicon.
We tested the hypothesis in an experiment with 40 participants with different aphasia types. The participants performed two tasks (verb naming and sentence construction) using 65 verbs pre-selected based on their argument structure complexity. The hypothesis was confirmed: indeed, more complex argument structure had a negative effect on building a full well-formed sentence structure but a positive effect on retrieving the verb in isolation.
Malyutina S., Zelenkova V. Verb argument structure effects in aphasia are different at single-word versus sentence level // Aphasiology. 2020. Vol. 34. No. 4. P. 431-457. doi [Plain-language press release at IQ.HSE.ru]
Malyutina, S., Zelenkova, V., Savcenko, A. (2018). Effects of three verb argument structure parameters on action naming and sentence production in aphasia. // Talk presented at Science of Aphasia XIX, Venice, Italy, 18-22 September.
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