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Recursive Subsystems in Aphasia and Alzheimer's Disease: Case Studies in Syntax and Theory of Mind.

Bánréti Z, Hoffmann I, Vincze V - Front Psychol (2016)

Bottom Line: Broca's aphasics did not produce answers with recursive sentence embedding.We call such replies "situative statements." Where the question concerned the mental state of the character but did not require an answer with sentence embedding ("What does X hate?"), aphasics gave descriptive answers rather than situative statements.The results reveal double dissociation: Broca's aphasics are unable to access recursive sentence embedding but they can make appropriate ToM inferences; moderate AD persons make the wrong ToM inferences but they are able to access recursive sentence embedding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psycho-, Neuro- and Socio-linguistics, Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) Budapest, Hungary.

ABSTRACT
The relationship between recursive sentence embedding and theory-of-mind (ToM) inference is investigated in three persons with Broca's aphasia, two persons with Wernicke's aphasia, and six persons with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). We asked questions of four types about photographs of various real-life situations. Type 4 questions asked participants about intentions, thoughts, or utterances of the characters in the pictures ("What may X be thinking/asking Y to do?"). The expected answers typically involved subordinate clauses introduced by conjunctions or direct quotations of the characters' utterances. Broca's aphasics did not produce answers with recursive sentence embedding. Rather, they projected themselves into the characters' mental states and gave direct answers in the first person singular, with relevant ToM content. We call such replies "situative statements." Where the question concerned the mental state of the character but did not require an answer with sentence embedding ("What does X hate?"), aphasics gave descriptive answers rather than situative statements. Most replies given by persons with AD to Type 4 questions were grammatical instances of recursive sentence embedding. They also gave a few situative statements but the ToM content of these was irrelevant. In more than one third of their well-formed sentence embeddings, too, they conveyed irrelevant ToM contents. Persons with moderate AD were unable to pass secondary false belief tests. The results reveal double dissociation: Broca's aphasics are unable to access recursive sentence embedding but they can make appropriate ToM inferences; moderate AD persons make the wrong ToM inferences but they are able to access recursive sentence embedding. The double dissociation may be relevant for the nature of the relationship between the two recursive capacities. Broca's aphasics compensated for the lack of recursive sentence embedding by recursive ToM reasoning represented in very simple syntactic forms: they used one recursive subsystem to stand in for another recursive subsystem.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

A man is standing up from a wheelchair (Stark, 1998).
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Figure 11: A man is standing up from a wheelchair (Stark, 1998).

Mentions: (d) Situative statement: Figure 11.


Recursive Subsystems in Aphasia and Alzheimer's Disease: Case Studies in Syntax and Theory of Mind.

Bánréti Z, Hoffmann I, Vincze V - Front Psychol (2016)

A man is standing up from a wheelchair (Stark, 1998).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4814509&req=5

Figure 11: A man is standing up from a wheelchair (Stark, 1998).
Mentions: (d) Situative statement: Figure 11.

Bottom Line: Broca's aphasics did not produce answers with recursive sentence embedding.We call such replies "situative statements." Where the question concerned the mental state of the character but did not require an answer with sentence embedding ("What does X hate?"), aphasics gave descriptive answers rather than situative statements.The results reveal double dissociation: Broca's aphasics are unable to access recursive sentence embedding but they can make appropriate ToM inferences; moderate AD persons make the wrong ToM inferences but they are able to access recursive sentence embedding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psycho-, Neuro- and Socio-linguistics, Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) Budapest, Hungary.

ABSTRACT
The relationship between recursive sentence embedding and theory-of-mind (ToM) inference is investigated in three persons with Broca's aphasia, two persons with Wernicke's aphasia, and six persons with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). We asked questions of four types about photographs of various real-life situations. Type 4 questions asked participants about intentions, thoughts, or utterances of the characters in the pictures ("What may X be thinking/asking Y to do?"). The expected answers typically involved subordinate clauses introduced by conjunctions or direct quotations of the characters' utterances. Broca's aphasics did not produce answers with recursive sentence embedding. Rather, they projected themselves into the characters' mental states and gave direct answers in the first person singular, with relevant ToM content. We call such replies "situative statements." Where the question concerned the mental state of the character but did not require an answer with sentence embedding ("What does X hate?"), aphasics gave descriptive answers rather than situative statements. Most replies given by persons with AD to Type 4 questions were grammatical instances of recursive sentence embedding. They also gave a few situative statements but the ToM content of these was irrelevant. In more than one third of their well-formed sentence embeddings, too, they conveyed irrelevant ToM contents. Persons with moderate AD were unable to pass secondary false belief tests. The results reveal double dissociation: Broca's aphasics are unable to access recursive sentence embedding but they can make appropriate ToM inferences; moderate AD persons make the wrong ToM inferences but they are able to access recursive sentence embedding. The double dissociation may be relevant for the nature of the relationship between the two recursive capacities. Broca's aphasics compensated for the lack of recursive sentence embedding by recursive ToM reasoning represented in very simple syntactic forms: they used one recursive subsystem to stand in for another recursive subsystem.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus