Event Abstract

Effects of aging, aphasia, and Parkinson’s disease on the time course of lemma selection during sentence production: evidence from eyetracking

  • 1 Purdue University, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, United States

Sentence production involves intricate coordination of planning and speaking. In the word-by-word incremental model, speakers start their speech upon preparing a single lemma, taxing the pre-speech memory buffer minimally (deSmedt, 1990; Griffin, 2001; Kempen & Hoenkamp, 1987). Alternatively, speakers may prepare multiple words in advance, such as up to the verb (Ferreria, 2000; Lindsley, 1975) or the entire clause (Garret, 1982; Ford, 1982) to avoid producing disfluencies and momentary word retrieval difficulties during speech. Sentence production in young healthy speakers is largely incremental, with some strategic flexibility (Ferreira & Swets, 2000; Schriefers et al., 1998). However, how the time course of lexical selection during sentence production is affected in speakers with reduced cognitive-linguistic capacity remains unclear. The present study examined the effects of aging, aphasia, and Parkinson’s disease (PD) on the time course of lemma selection during sentence production, using eyetracking. Data from a group of 16 young, 14 older, 12 PD, and 12 agrammatic aphasic speakers are reported. Young and aphasic speakers’ data are drawn from Lee, Yoshida, & Thompson (accepted) to compare with PD and older speakers’ data. Participants described three object pictures (A, B, C) using the sentence frame “the A and the B are above the C” (Griffin, 2001). Each picture’s codability (name agreement) was manipulated to be high (clock) or low (couch/sofa). Speakers experience increased lemma selection difficulty when naming low codable pictures, resulting in increased gaze durations. Participants’ gaze durations to each picture were measured and aligned with the speech onset of sentences to see ‘when’ each lemma was prepared. Results showed that aphasic and PD speakers produced significantly fewer target sentences than young and older speakers, with this difference pronounced only when sentences included low-codable pictures for the PD group. No difference was noticed between young and older speakers (cf. Griffin & Spieler, 2006). For gaze duration measures before speech onset, all groups showed significantly longer gazes for low codable A than for high codable A. No codability effects were found for B and C across the groups, suggesting only the first lemma was prepared before speech onset. For gaze durations after speech onset, all four groups showed codability effects for B and C only. Additionally, aphasic speakers’ name-related gazes to each picture were longest in general. PD speakers showed longer name-related gazes than young, but not older speakers. The findings suggest that although speakers’ different cognitive-linguistic capacity affects the time that speakers take to prepare each objects’ names, there is a very strong consistency for the scope of word-preparation for all four groups. None of the older, PD, and aphasic groups adapted advanced word-preparation in order to reduce demands during speech, compared to young speakers. This word-by-word production might have compromised off-line sentence production accuracy to a greater extent in PD and aphasic speakers than healthy speakers.

Figure 1


This work was supported by American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigator's Grant.


De Smedt, K. (1990). IPF: An incremental Parallel Formulator London: Academic Press.

Ferreira, F. (2000). Syntax in language production: An approach using tree-adjoining grammars. In L. Wheeldon (Ed.), Aspects of Language Production. Psychology Press

Ferreira, F., & Swets, B. (2002). How incremental is language production? Evidence from the production of utterances requiring the computation of arithmetic sums. Journal of Memory and Language, 46, 57-84.

Ford, M. (1982). Sentence planning units: Implications for the speaker's representation of meaningful relations underlying sentences. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.

Garrett, M. F. (1982). Production of speech: observations from normal and pathological language use. In A. Ellis (Ed.), Normality and pathology in cognitive functions. London: Academic press.

Griffin, Z. M. (2001). Gaze durations during speech reflect word selection and phonological encoding. Cognition, 82, B1-B14.

Griffin, Z. M., & Spieler, D. H. (2006). Observing the what and when of language production for different age groups by monitoring speakers' eye movements. Brain and Language, 99, 272-288.

Kempen, G. K., & Hoenkemp, E. (1987). An incremental procedural grammar for sentence formulation. Cognitive Science, 11, 201-258.

Lee, J., Yoshida, M., & Thompson, C. K. (accepted). Grammatical planning units during real-time sentence production in agrammatic and healthy speakers. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Lindsley, J. R. (1975). Producing simple utterances: How far ahead do we plan? Cognitive Psychology, 7, 1-19.

Schriefers, H., Teruel, E., & Meinshausen, R. M. (1998). Production simple sentences: Results from picture-word interference experiments. Journal of Memory and Language, 39, 609-632.

Keywords: lemma retrieval, sentence production, eyetracking, agrammatic aphasia, Parkinson Disease, sentence planning units

Conference: Academy of Aphasia 53rd Annual Meeting, Tucson, United States, 18 Oct - 20 Oct, 2015.

Presentation Type: Poster

Topic: Not student first author

Citation: Lee J (2015). Effects of aging, aphasia, and Parkinson’s disease on the time course of lemma selection during sentence production: evidence from eyetracking. Front. Psychol. Conference Abstract: Academy of Aphasia 53rd Annual Meeting. doi: 10.3389/conf.fpsyg.2015.65.00033

Copyright: The abstracts in this collection have not been subject to any Frontiers peer review or checks, and are not endorsed by Frontiers. They are made available through the Frontiers publishing platform as a service to conference organizers and presenters.

The copyright in the individual abstracts is owned by the author of each abstract or his/her employer unless otherwise stated.

Each abstract, as well as the collection of abstracts, are published under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 (attribution) licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) and may thus be reproduced, translated, adapted and be the subject of derivative works provided the authors and Frontiers are attributed.

For Frontiers’ terms and conditions please see https://www.frontiersin.org/legal/terms-and-conditions.

Received: 01 May 2015; Published Online: 24 Sep 2015.

* Correspondence: PhD. Jiyeon Lee, Purdue University, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, West Lafayette, United States, lee1704@purdue.edu