Discourse priming of homophones in individuals with dominant nonthalamic subcortical lesions, cortical lesions and Parkinson's disease

David A. Copland, HJ Chenery, Bruce E. Murdoch

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An on-line priming experiment was used to investigate discourse-level processing in four matched groups of subjects: individuals with nonthalamic subcortical lesions (NSL) (n=10), normal control subjects (n=10), subjects with Parkinson's disease (PD) (n=10), and subjects with cortical lesions (n=10). Subjects listened to paragraphs that ended in lexical ambiguities, and then made speeded lexical decisions on visual letter strings that were: nonwords, matched control words, contextually appropriate associates of the lexical ambiguity, contextually inappropriate associates of the ambiguity, and inferences (representing information which could be drawn from the paragraphs but was not explicitly stated). Targets were presented at an interstimulus interval (ISI) of 0 or 1000 ms. NSL and PD subjects demonstrated priming for appropriate and inappropriate associates at the short ISL similar to control subjects and cortical lesion subjects, but were unable to demonstrate selective priming of the appropriate associate and inference words at the long ISI. These results imply intact automatic lexical processing and a breakdown in discourse-based meaning selection and inference development via attentional/strategic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-556
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes

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