The role of linguistic prediction in language impairments and recovery in aphasia
Many people with acquired impairments of language (aphasia) have difficulty using grammatical information to support auditory sentence comprehension. In this talk, I will provide evidence from visual-world eye-tracking that these difficulties stem, at least in part, from impaired linguistic prediction. In addition, I will present results from a language intervention study, which examined how the cognitive and neural bases of sentence comprehension change when language abilities recover in stroke-induced aphasia. Participants received 12 weeks of training aimed at improving their sentence production and comprehension abilities, without explicitly training prediction. Training-related improvements in sentence comprehension were associated with improved linguistic prediction (measured using eye-tracking) as well as increased activation in the right-hemisphere homologues of left-hemisphere language regions (measured using fMRI). These results suggest that linguistic prediction plays a key role in language impairments and recovery, and motivate future directions for basic and translational research.