Impaired semantic inhibition during lexical ambiguity repetition in Parkinson's disease

David A. Copland*, Gameli Sefe, Jane Ashley, Carrie Hudson, Helen J. Chenery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Impairments of semantic processing and inhibition have been observed in Parkinson's disease (PD), however, the consequences of faulty meaning selection and suppression have not been considered in terms of subsequent lexical processing. The present study employed a lexical ambiguity repetition paradigm where the first presentation of an ambiguity paired with a target biasing its dominant or subordinate meaning (e.g., bank - money or bank - river) was followed after several intervening trials by a presentation of the same ambiguity paired with a different target that biases the same (congruent) or a different (incongruent) meaning to that biased on the first presentation. Meaning dominance (dominant or subordinate weaker meanings) and interstimulus interval (ISI) were manipulated. Analyses conducted on the second presentation indicated priming of congruent meanings and no priming for the incongruent meanings at both short and long ISIs in the healthy controls, consistent with suppression of meanings competing with the representation biased in the first presentation. In contrast, the PD group failed to dampen activation for the incongruent meaning at the long ISI when the first presentation was subordinate. This pattern is consistent with an impairment of meaning suppression which is observed under controlled processing conditions and varies as a function of meaning dominance of the first presentation. These findings further refine our understanding of lexical-semantic impairments in PD and suggest a mechanism that may contribute to discourse comprehension impairments in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-949
Number of pages7
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Impaired semantic inhibition during lexical ambiguity repetition in Parkinson's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this