Jennifer Mack

Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Disorders | School of Public Health & Health Sciences
Communication Disorders Building, Room #316

2021-22 Scholars Project Title: Impact of Self-disclosure of Aphasia on Neurotypical Listeners

To comprehend language successfully, we need to adjust our linguistic expectations to different speakers and contexts. Yet, we know little about how neurotypical adult listeners adjust to speakers with communication disorders. Aphasia is a language disorder caused by damage to the brain (most commonly a stroke) that affects over 2 million people in the US. In everyday contexts, many people with aphasia self-disclose their aphasia with new conversation partners in the hopes of improving the chances of communicative success. This project examines the impact of self-disclosure of aphasia on neurotypical listeners: their attitudes towards the speaker, their ability to comprehend the speaker, and the moment-to-moment changes in their language system that happen as they adjust to the speaker. The results of this work may guide interventions focused on neurotypical conversation partners of people with aphasia (e.g., communication partner training, aphasia education campaigns) and inform theories about how listeners’ language systems adapt to comprehend neurologically diverse speakers.

Selected Publications as of 2021 (see professional website for current work):

  • Mack, J. E., Barbieri, E., Weintraub, S., Mesulam, M. M., & Thompson, C. K. (2021). Quantifying grammatical impairments in primary progressive aphasia: Structured language tests and narrative language production. Neuropsychologia, 151, 107713.
  • Ward, C., & Mack, J. E. (2020). The effect of aphasia ID cards on neurotypical comprehension of aphasic language. Poster presented at the Academy of Aphasia, Virtual.
  • Mack, J. E., Mesulam, M. M., Rogalski, E. J., & Thompson, C. K. (2019). Verb-argument integration in primary progressive aphasia: Real-time argument access and selection. Neuropsychologia, 134, 107192.
  • Mack, J. E., & Thompson, C. K. (2017). Recovery of online sentence processing in aphasia:  Eye movement changes resulting from Treatment of Underlying Forms. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 1299-1315.

Lab Website: Neuroscience of Language and Aphasia Lab