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PURPOSE: We aimed at further elucidating whether aphasic patients' difficulties in understanding non-canonical sentence structures, such as Passive or Object-Verb-Subject sentences, can be attributed to impaired morphosyntactic cue recognition, and to problems in integrating competing interpretations. METHODS: A sentence-picture matching task with canonical and non-canonical spoken sentences was performed using concurrent eye tracking. Accuracy, reaction time, and eye tracking data (fixations) of 50 healthy subjects and 12 aphasic patients were analysed. RESULTS: Patients showed increased error rates and reaction times, as well as delayed fixation preferences for target pictures in non-canonical sentences. Patients' fixation patterns differed from healthy controls and revealed deficits in recognizing and immediately integrating morphosyntactic cues. CONCLUSION: Our study corroborates the notion that difficulties in understanding syntactically complex sentences are attributable to a processing deficit encompassing delayed and therefore impaired recognition and integration of cues, as well as increased competition between interpretations.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0142853

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2015

Volume

10

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aphasia, Brain, Comprehension, Eye Movements, Female, Humans, Language, Language Tests, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Reaction Time, Semantics, Speech Perception