A Computational Evaluation of Two Models of Retrieval Processes in Sentence Processing in Aphasia

Cognitive Science 45 (4):e12956 (2021)
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Can sentence comprehension impairments in aphasia be explained by difficulties arising from dependency completion processes in parsing? Two distinct models of dependency completion difficulty are investigated, the Lewis and Vasishth (2005) activation‐based model and the direct‐access model (DA; McElree, 2000). These models' predictive performance is compared using data from individuals with aphasia (IWAs) and control participants. The data are from a self‐paced listening task involving subject and object relative clauses. The relative predictive performance of the models is evaluated using k‐fold cross‐validation. For both IWAs and controls, the activation‐based model furnishes a somewhat better quantitative fit to the data than the DA. Model comparisons using Bayes factors show that, assuming an activation‐based model, intermittent deficiencies may be the best explanation for the cause of impairments in IWAs, although slowed syntax and lexical delayed access may also play a role. This is the first computational evaluation of different models of dependency completion using data from impaired and unimpaired individuals. This evaluation develops a systematic approach that can be used to quantitatively compare the predictions of competing models of language processing.



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Sentence comprehension as a cognitive process: a computational approach.Shravan Vasishth - 2021 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Felix Engelmann.


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