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Lecture

PSYC 2020 Lecture Notes - Receptive Aphasia, Conduction Aphasia, Parietal Lobe


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2020
Professor
all

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PSYA02 Textbook Midterm Review Notes - Chapters 10 to 13
Chapter 10: Language
Speech and Comprehension
Psycholinguistics: branch of psychology devoted to study verbal behaviour.
Speech is social, it is learned and used in interaction with others.
We extract words from a stream of speech.
Our auditory systems recognize patterns underlying speech.
Belin, Zatorre, and Ahad: used fMRI scans to find that some regions of the
brain responded more to human vocalizations rather than just other natural
sounds. Left hemisphere showed larger contrast and thus, it plays a larger role
in analyzing speech.
Phonemes: elements (smallest units) of speech. Eg: pin is three phonemes
“/p/+/i/+/n/”.
oVoice-onset time: a way in which we discriminate among phonemes. It
is the delay between the initial consonant sound and vibrating vocal
chords (voicing). Eg: there is a delay in voicing for “pa” compared to
“ba” although the initial sound (made with the mouth) is the same.
oPhonemic discriminations initially occur in both hemispheres. Some
areas of the brain in the left hemisphere respond solely to intelligible
speech even if it is highly distorted.
oOur ability to recognize highly distorted speech supports that our
perception of a phoneme is affected by the sounds that follow it
(Ganong). We recognize speech sounds in larger chunks such as
syllables.
Sanders, Newport, and Neville: played a continuous string of nonsense
syllables to listeners. Chunks of this stream were given to participants to study
as words. When the string was played once again the N100 response
(electrical signal that occurs when a word is first recognized) showed up.
Context affects word perception through top-down processing.
Syntax/grammar: all languages follow certain principles called syntactical
rules: grammatical rules for combining words to form phrases, clauses, and
sentences.
oSyntax is learned implicitly and is automatic. Involves different brain
mechanisms than learning word meanings.
oSyntactical clues are designed by:
Word order: tell us who does what do whom (in English), for
example “A Xs the B”: A does something to B.
Word class: grammatical categories such as noun and verb.
Function words: adds little meaning but conveys important
information about the sentence’s structure such as

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PSYA02 Textbook Midterm Review Notes - Chapters 10 to 13
prepositions and articles. When they are omitted, we can
often guess at function words.
Content words: express meaning such as nouns and verbs.
Content words express meaning and function words
express the relationships between the content words.
Affixes: Sounds we add to beginning (prefix) or ends (suffix) of
words. Adding affixes to nonsense words make them seems more
like sentences (Epstein).
Semantics: the meaning represented by words.
Prosody: using changes in intonation and emphasis to convey
meaning in speech. Important for emotion. In writing, syntactical
clues and interfere with prosody producing brain activity similar
to that of unexpected experiences.
Syntax is necessary but not sufficient for semantics. Things can make
syntactical sense but we may not extract meaning from it. Likewise, semantics
requires syntax for the entire picture.
We remember what is meant in sentences but quickly forget their form.
Chomsky (linguist) suggested a model:
oDeep structure is the essential meanings of a sentence. It is converted
to speech by adding surface structure (grammatical features).
oThis model is not generally accepted by psychologists.
Aphasia: loss of language, recognition or comprehension or both.
oConduction aphasia: difficulty repeating words and phrases, but they
are comprehended. Retain deep structure but not surface structure.
Pragmatics is knowledge of the world. Used in conversations and is involved in
speech comprehension. Scripts: characteristics of typical situations that assist
in comprehending a verbal discourse. A conversation can bring up certain
scripts in the listener so the speaker can convey information without all the
gritty details.
Areas important for speech:
oBroca’s area: motor association cortex in left frontal lobe. Speech
production occurs here. Sign language users also show activity in this
area, meaning it is for more than just speech production.
Damage here (extending to underlying white matter) causes
Broca’s aphasia which involves severe difficulty articulating
words, especially function words.
Agrammatism: inability to properly use or comprehend
function words and grammatical features.
Comprehension of word order, for example, is affected in
Broca’s aphasia.
Deficit in comprehension parallels their deficit in
production (grammatical and syntactical loss)

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PSYA02 Textbook Midterm Review Notes - Chapters 10 to 13
Wernicke suggested that Broca’s area contains memories of
sequences of muscle movements needed to articulate words.
Broca’s area is located just in front of the primary motor cortex.
oWernicke’s area: upper part of the left temporal lobe, involved in the
recognition of speech.
Wernicke’s aphasia:
Damage to the left temporal and parietal cortex that
includes Wernicke’s area. Causes deficits in perception of
speech and producing fluent but meaningless speech and
lack of content words.
Show poor comprehension, disorder known as receptive
aphasia, inability to convert thoughts into words, and
inability to recognize spoken words.
oRecognizing is not the same as comprehending: a
word for which there is no learned meaning
associated can still be recognized.
Pure word deafness: Damage restricted to Wernicke’s area.
Inability to comprehend the meaning of heard speech (can still
read lips and writing) but one can still hear, speak properly, and
write. Can recognize emotions conveyed through prosody but not
what is being said.
Isolation aphasia: damage to the left temporal and parietal
cortex that spares Wernicke’s area (area that surrounds
Wernicke’s area is the posterior language area). Similar to
Wernicke’s aphasia yet they can recognize and repeat words.
Posterior language area is responsible for word meanings.
Sounds of words recognized in Wernicke’s area, passed onto Broca’s area so
they can be repeated.
fMRI and PET Studies on word recognition and production:
oBroca’s aphasia patients show low activity in the lower left frontal lobe.
Wernicke’s aphasia shows low activity in the temporal/parietal area of
the brain.
oListening passively to a list of nouns activates the primary auditory
cortex and Wernicke’s area. Repeating the nouns activates primary
motor cortex and Broca’s area.
Semantics: the meaning of a word. Defined by the particular memories
associated with the word.
oMemories not stored in primary speech areas, but in other parts of the
brain such as the association cortex. Different memories of one word
can be stored in different areas of the brain but they are somehow
activated and linked together.
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