Verb deficits in Alzheimer's disease and agrammatism: Implications for lexical organization

Mikyong Kim*, Cynthia K. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


This study examined the nature of verb deficits in 14 individuals with probable Alzheimer's Disease (PrAD) and nine with agrammatic aphasia. Production was tested, controlling both semantic and syntactic features of verbs, using noun and verb naming, sentence completion, and narrative tasks. Noun and verb comprehension and a grammaticality judgment task also were administered. Results showed that while both PrAD and agrammatic subjects showed impaired verb naming, the syntactic features of verbs (i.e., argument structure) influenced agrammatic, but not Alzheimer's disease patients' verb production ability. That is, agrammatic patients showed progressively greater difficulty with verbs associated with more arguments, as has been shown in previous studies (e.g., Kim & Thompson, 2000; Thompson, 2003; Thompson, Lange, Schneider, & Shapiro, 1997), and suggest a syntactic basis for verb production deficits in agrammatism. Conversely, the semantic complexity of verbs affected PrAD, but not agrammatic, patients' performance, suggesting "bottom-up" breakdown in their verb lexicon, paralleling that of nouns, resulting from the degradation or loss of semantic features of verbs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Agrammatism
  • Language in Alzheimer's Disease
  • Lexical organization in aphasia
  • Verb impairment in Alzheimer's Disease
  • Verb impairment in aphasia
  • Verb production in Alzheimer's Disease
  • Verb production in aphasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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