Verb-argument integration in primary progressive aphasia: Real-time argument access and selection

Jennifer E. Mack*, Marek-Marsel Mesulam, Emily Rogalski, Cynthia K Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Impaired sentence comprehension is observed in the three major subtypes of PPA, with distinct performance patterns relating to impairments in comprehending complex sentences in the agrammatic (PPA-G) and logopenic (PPA-L) variants and word comprehension in the semantic subtype (PPA-S). However, little is known about basic combinatory processes during sentence comprehension in PPA, such the integration of verbs with their subject and object(s) (verb-argument integration). Methods: The present study used visual-world eye-tracking to examine real-time verb-argument integration in individuals with PPA (12 with PPA-G, 10 with PPA-L, and 6 with PPA-S) and neurotypical older adults (15). Two baseline experiments probed eye movement control, using a non-linguistic task, and noun comprehension, respectively. Two verb-argument integration experiments examined the effects of verb meaning on (a) lexical access of the verb's direct object (argument access) and (b) selection of a semantically-appropriate direct object (argument selection), respectively. Eye movement analyses were conducted only for trials with correct behavioral responses, allowing us to distinguish accuracy and online processing. Results: The eye movement control experiment revealed no significant impairments in PPA, whereas the noun comprehension experiment revealed reduced accuracy and eye-movement latencies in PPA-S, and to a lesser extent PPA-G. In the argument access experiment, verb meaning facilitated argument access normally in PPA-G and PPA-L; in PPA-S, verb-meaning effects emerged on an atypical time course. In the argument selection experiment, significant impairments in accuracy were observed only in PPA-G, accompanied by markedly atypical eye movement patterns. Conclusion: This study revealed two distinct patterns of impaired verb-argument integration in PPA. In PPA-S, impaired verb-argument integration was observed in the argument access experiment, indicating impairments in basic semantic combinatory processes which likely relate to damage in ventral language pathways. In contrast, listeners with PPA-G showed marked impairments of argument selection, likely relating to damage to left inferior frontal regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107192
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume134
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

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Primary Progressive Aphasia
Eye Movements
Semantics
Language

Keywords

  • Eye-tracking
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Semantics
  • Syntax
  • Verb-argument structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

@article{8fbd41c45b524731a0a5f95dde11f87d,
title = "Verb-argument integration in primary progressive aphasia: Real-time argument access and selection",
abstract = "Background: Impaired sentence comprehension is observed in the three major subtypes of PPA, with distinct performance patterns relating to impairments in comprehending complex sentences in the agrammatic (PPA-G) and logopenic (PPA-L) variants and word comprehension in the semantic subtype (PPA-S). However, little is known about basic combinatory processes during sentence comprehension in PPA, such the integration of verbs with their subject and object(s) (verb-argument integration). Methods: The present study used visual-world eye-tracking to examine real-time verb-argument integration in individuals with PPA (12 with PPA-G, 10 with PPA-L, and 6 with PPA-S) and neurotypical older adults (15). Two baseline experiments probed eye movement control, using a non-linguistic task, and noun comprehension, respectively. Two verb-argument integration experiments examined the effects of verb meaning on (a) lexical access of the verb's direct object (argument access) and (b) selection of a semantically-appropriate direct object (argument selection), respectively. Eye movement analyses were conducted only for trials with correct behavioral responses, allowing us to distinguish accuracy and online processing. Results: The eye movement control experiment revealed no significant impairments in PPA, whereas the noun comprehension experiment revealed reduced accuracy and eye-movement latencies in PPA-S, and to a lesser extent PPA-G. In the argument access experiment, verb meaning facilitated argument access normally in PPA-G and PPA-L; in PPA-S, verb-meaning effects emerged on an atypical time course. In the argument selection experiment, significant impairments in accuracy were observed only in PPA-G, accompanied by markedly atypical eye movement patterns. Conclusion: This study revealed two distinct patterns of impaired verb-argument integration in PPA. In PPA-S, impaired verb-argument integration was observed in the argument access experiment, indicating impairments in basic semantic combinatory processes which likely relate to damage in ventral language pathways. In contrast, listeners with PPA-G showed marked impairments of argument selection, likely relating to damage to left inferior frontal regions.",
keywords = "Eye-tracking, Primary progressive aphasia, Semantics, Syntax, Verb-argument structure",
author = "Mack, {Jennifer E.} and Marek-Marsel Mesulam and Emily Rogalski and Thompson, {Cynthia K}",
year = "2019",
month = "11",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107192",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "134",
journal = "Neuropsychologia",
issn = "0028-3932",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Verb-argument integration in primary progressive aphasia

T2 - Real-time argument access and selection

AU - Mack, Jennifer E.

AU - Mesulam, Marek-Marsel

AU - Rogalski, Emily

AU - Thompson, Cynthia K

PY - 2019/11/1

Y1 - 2019/11/1

N2 - Background: Impaired sentence comprehension is observed in the three major subtypes of PPA, with distinct performance patterns relating to impairments in comprehending complex sentences in the agrammatic (PPA-G) and logopenic (PPA-L) variants and word comprehension in the semantic subtype (PPA-S). However, little is known about basic combinatory processes during sentence comprehension in PPA, such the integration of verbs with their subject and object(s) (verb-argument integration). Methods: The present study used visual-world eye-tracking to examine real-time verb-argument integration in individuals with PPA (12 with PPA-G, 10 with PPA-L, and 6 with PPA-S) and neurotypical older adults (15). Two baseline experiments probed eye movement control, using a non-linguistic task, and noun comprehension, respectively. Two verb-argument integration experiments examined the effects of verb meaning on (a) lexical access of the verb's direct object (argument access) and (b) selection of a semantically-appropriate direct object (argument selection), respectively. Eye movement analyses were conducted only for trials with correct behavioral responses, allowing us to distinguish accuracy and online processing. Results: The eye movement control experiment revealed no significant impairments in PPA, whereas the noun comprehension experiment revealed reduced accuracy and eye-movement latencies in PPA-S, and to a lesser extent PPA-G. In the argument access experiment, verb meaning facilitated argument access normally in PPA-G and PPA-L; in PPA-S, verb-meaning effects emerged on an atypical time course. In the argument selection experiment, significant impairments in accuracy were observed only in PPA-G, accompanied by markedly atypical eye movement patterns. Conclusion: This study revealed two distinct patterns of impaired verb-argument integration in PPA. In PPA-S, impaired verb-argument integration was observed in the argument access experiment, indicating impairments in basic semantic combinatory processes which likely relate to damage in ventral language pathways. In contrast, listeners with PPA-G showed marked impairments of argument selection, likely relating to damage to left inferior frontal regions.

AB - Background: Impaired sentence comprehension is observed in the three major subtypes of PPA, with distinct performance patterns relating to impairments in comprehending complex sentences in the agrammatic (PPA-G) and logopenic (PPA-L) variants and word comprehension in the semantic subtype (PPA-S). However, little is known about basic combinatory processes during sentence comprehension in PPA, such the integration of verbs with their subject and object(s) (verb-argument integration). Methods: The present study used visual-world eye-tracking to examine real-time verb-argument integration in individuals with PPA (12 with PPA-G, 10 with PPA-L, and 6 with PPA-S) and neurotypical older adults (15). Two baseline experiments probed eye movement control, using a non-linguistic task, and noun comprehension, respectively. Two verb-argument integration experiments examined the effects of verb meaning on (a) lexical access of the verb's direct object (argument access) and (b) selection of a semantically-appropriate direct object (argument selection), respectively. Eye movement analyses were conducted only for trials with correct behavioral responses, allowing us to distinguish accuracy and online processing. Results: The eye movement control experiment revealed no significant impairments in PPA, whereas the noun comprehension experiment revealed reduced accuracy and eye-movement latencies in PPA-S, and to a lesser extent PPA-G. In the argument access experiment, verb meaning facilitated argument access normally in PPA-G and PPA-L; in PPA-S, verb-meaning effects emerged on an atypical time course. In the argument selection experiment, significant impairments in accuracy were observed only in PPA-G, accompanied by markedly atypical eye movement patterns. Conclusion: This study revealed two distinct patterns of impaired verb-argument integration in PPA. In PPA-S, impaired verb-argument integration was observed in the argument access experiment, indicating impairments in basic semantic combinatory processes which likely relate to damage in ventral language pathways. In contrast, listeners with PPA-G showed marked impairments of argument selection, likely relating to damage to left inferior frontal regions.

KW - Eye-tracking

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KW - Semantics

KW - Syntax

KW - Verb-argument structure

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