Automatic Syntactic Processing in Agrammatic Aphasia: The Effect of Grammatical Violations

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This study aimed to examine syntactic processing in agrammatic aphasia. We hypothesized that agrammatic individuals’ automatic syntactic processing would be preserved, as measured by word monitoring task, and their knowledge of syntactic constraints would be impaired, as measured by sentence judgment task, and their performance would vary by type of syntactic violation. The study found that the sentence processing in agrammatism differed based on the type of violation in both tasks: preserved for semantic and tense violations and impaired for word category violations. However, there was no correlation between the two tasks. Furthermore, single-subject analyses showed that automatic syntactic processing for word category violations does not seem to be impaired in aphasia. Based on the findings, this study supports that knowledge of syntactic constraints and automatic processing may be relatively independent abilities which are not related. Findings suggest that individuals with agrammatic aphasia may have preserved automatic syntactic processing.