Binding in agrammatic aphasia: Processing to comprehension

Jungwon Janet Choy, Cynthia K. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Theories of comprehension deficits in Broca's aphasia have largely been based on the pattern of deficit found with movement constructions. However, some studies have found comprehension deficits with binding constructions, which do not involve movement. Aims: This study investigates online processing and offline comprehension of binding constructions, such as reflexive (e.g., himself) and pronoun (e.g., him) constructions in unimpaired and aphasic individuals in an attempt to evaluate theories of agrammatic comprehension. Methods & Procedures: Participants were eight individuals with agrammatic Broca's aphasia and eight age-matched unimpaired individuals. We used eyetracking to examine online processing of binding constructions while participants listened to stories. Offline comprehension was also tested. Outcomes & Results: The eye movement data showed that individuals with Broca's aphasia were able to automatically process the correct antecedent of reflexives and pronouns. In addition, their syntactic processing of binding was not delayed compared to normal controls. Nevertheless, offline comprehension of both pronouns and reflexives was significantly impaired compared to the control participants. This comprehension failure was reflected in the aphasic participants' eye movements at sentence end, where fixations to the competitor increased. Conclusions: These data suggest that comprehension difficulties with binding construc- tions seen in agrammatic aphasic patients are not due to a deficit in automatic syntactic processing or delayed processing. Rather, they point to a possible deficit in lexical integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-579
Number of pages29
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Agrammatism
  • Binding
  • Broca's aphasia
  • Comprehension
  • Eyetracking
  • Sentence processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • LPN and LVN
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Linguistics and Language


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