Word frequency and bigram frequency effects on linguistic processing and speech motor performance in individuals with aphasia and normal speakers
Bose, A., van Lieshout, P. and Square, P. A. (2007) Word frequency and bigram frequency effects on linguistic processing and speech motor performance in individuals with aphasia and normal speakers. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 20 (1). pp. 65-88. ISSN 0911-6044
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2006.05.001
Models of normal word production are well specified about the effects of frequency of linguistic stimuli on lexical access, but are less clear regarding the same effects on later stages of word production, particularly word articulation. In aphasia, this lack of specificity of down-stream frequency effects is even more noticeable because there is relatively limited amount of data on the time course of frequency effects for this population. This study begins to fill this gap by comparing the effects of variation of word frequency (lexical, whole word) and bigram frequency (sub-lexical, within word) on word production abilities in ten normal speakers and eight mild–moderate individuals with aphasia. In an immediate repetition paradigm, participants repeated single monosyllabic words in which word frequency (high or low) was crossed with bigram frequency (high or low). Indices for mapping the time course for these effects included reaction time (RT) for linguistic processing and motor preparation, and word duration (WD) for speech motor performance (word articulation time). The results indicated that individuals with aphasia had significantly longer RT and WD compared to normal speakers. RT showed a significant main effect only for word frequency (i.e., high-frequency words had shorter RT). WD showed significant main effects of word and bigram frequency; however, contrary to our expectations, high-frequency items had longer WD. Further investigation of WD revealed that independent of the influence of word and bigram frequency, vowel type (tense or lax) had the expected effect on WD. Moreover, individuals with aphasia differed from control speakers in their ability to implement tense vowel duration, even though they could produce an appropriate distinction between tense and lax vowels. The results highlight the importance of using temporal measures to identify subtle deficits in linguistic and speech motor processing in aphasia, the crucial role of phonetic characteristics of stimuli set in studying speech production and the need for the language production models to account more explicitly for word articulation.